Friday, Dec 02, 2022

Hollywood Rewind | Coraline: This movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novella is deliciously creepy

Written and directed by Henry Selick, and based on the novella by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a delightfully creepy thing to behold.

coralineCoraline released in 2009. (Photo: Focus Features)

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.

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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.

First published on: 26-09-2021 at 08:36:45 am
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