Good writing makes good movies. When the script makes sense, reads beautifully and evokes the right kind of emotions, half the battle is already won. And when you have British author Neil Gaiman’s penmanship to fall back upon, things are made infinitely easier for the makers. Now combine Gaiman’s prowess as a writer with the sheer artistry of Henry Selick and various other animators and artists who drew upon their creative energies to give birth to Coraline. The result, dear reader, is spectacular.
Like a slow cooked broth, we are first introduced to the main ingredients of the story — the Jones family. Then our heroine Coraline takes over, expressing frustration with her parents as young children do, which then leads to a jaw-dropping discovery. A parallel world through a miniature door. A door which houses the darker versions of Coraline’s parents, with buttons for eyes (It’s creepier visually than it seems now, I promise). At first, Coraline is charmed by her ‘new’ set of parents, for they appear to be everything her actual parents are not — fun, more present and game for anything. But quickly Coraline begins to realise that something very significant, very human is missing in this new family.
The animation is to die for. Its loveliness or authenticity can only be witnessed on screen, not described on paper. The fact that it took nearly nine years for this feature to come to fruition should give you a hint about the level of detailing involved. And stop-motion animation anyway is more sweat work. Would you believe that a crew member was hired only to knit miniature sweaters for the puppets that show up in Coraline? As it turns out, that blood and tears were worth it. For Coraline was not only a critics’ darling but a box-office smasher as well. Now that is a rarity and a dream for any movie maker and the team. But to have a children’s horror dark fantasy movie do that kind of business was even more unusual.
Hollywood Rewind: Gone Girl | Starship Troopers | Bridget Jones’s Diary | Almost Famous | Inglourious Basterds | Beginners | Girl With a Pearl Earring | Juno | Nightcrawler | Little Miss Sunshine | Moana | The Sound of Music | Benny and Joon | Crimson Peak | The Holiday | My Blueberry Nights | The Help | Mission Impossible | Chef | Revolutionary Road | I’m Not There | Donnie Brasco | Sicario | Edge of Tomorrow | Spy Kids | 1998’s Godzilla | The Others | Phone Booth | Wild | Scream | The Godfather Part II | One Fine Day | True Romance | Little Women | Face-off | Pulp Fiction | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | The Age of Innocence | Mean Girls | Die Hard | Never Been Kissed | Citizen Kane | Kill Bill Volume I | Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
However, despite the generally positive reception of the movie, writer Neil Gaiman had earlier mentioned in an interview with Empire that American people were shocked that such a movie was meant for children’s consumption. “In America, even the people who thought Coraline was a good thing would say, ‘You know you have made a very scary movie for children.’ This in the same kind of tone they would say like I had made a porn film for children,'” said the author. But the UK viewers lapped up the film because of its inherent “Doctor Who strangeness,” claimed Gaiman.
But you know that Coraline is meant for all ages when during a recent interview with actor Teri Hatcher, Gaiman said that the germ of the story came from his daughter Holly, who now has her own children. Apparently, Gaiman’s daughter would come home from school and recount tales about mothers being replaced by witches in parallel worlds!
You can watch the lovely Coraline on Google Play.