Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Coraline is easily the best stop-motion animated film since The Nightmare Before Christmas. Not that there have been a great many others in between, but it's still a damn good movie. The precision in animation and storytelling is at a Pixar level of goodness. Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman make fine collaborators, and I only hope that more adaptations come about in the future. I'd love to see what a Sandman story looks like in this medium!
One of my favorite things about Coraline is that it is a genuinely creepy kids movie. All of my favorite movies growing up were not afraid to actually be scary. Selick does a wonderful job as a director of gradually ramping up the creepiness until the whole fantasy world is just one big nightmare.
I haven't read the book, so I can't say how close of an adaptation this is, but it definitely has Neil Gaiman's fingerprint. He has such a clever way of using familiar elements from classic stories, and giving them just enough of a twist that they become something new and exciting.
In addition to being a very entertaining film, Coraline is also the best 3D movie I've seen since this new digital 3D technology was introduced. It isn't overly gaggy (*ahem*, Beowulf), and it uses space in very clever ways. Gaiman and Selick recently did a fantastic interview on The Sound Of Young America. Selick describes how sets were built with forced perspective in Coraline's "real world" to give them a flatter look. This kind of attention to detail makes the movie a complete joy to watch in 3D.
I really enjoyed everything about Coraline from the characters, to the story, to its beautifully haunting soundtrack. This could easily give Pixar a run for their money in 2009. Up better be fantastic, is all I'm saying.