Friday, February 06, 2009

stormy pinkness

when a series of unfortunate events came out several years ago (which i surprisingly enjoyed), a radio movie critic said "be careful taking the kids, because this movie is DARK."
i'd say the same for coraline.

at the beginning, i loved it.  the animation seemed jerkier than nightmare before Christmas, but i didn't mind.  i loved the familiarly skewed world, that coraline herself had issues and frustrations, and that the movie didn't insist we instantly love her.  but as the movie progressed, the story becomes more ominous, the yang to nightmare's yin.  the story of jack skellington is superficially scary, one of vampires, werewolves, and jellied brains. but at its core, the world of halloweentown is fun and friendly.  coraline looks like a fantastic dreamworld, but reveals to be a much truer nightmare.
although i think it was really the naked aged burlesque starlet that was too much for me.

perhaps it's that my friends now have children, or maybe that i'm maturing more myself, but i do think more about what i see.  mark was very surprised when, afterward, i mentioned that it was rated pg.  and i agree with him--treat this as a pg-13 movie.  and i think coraline knows it's for older kids.  it's a story for those who love neil gaiman: people like that guy down the hall here.  the publicity department didn't quite think to mention that part, however.
and, like the ring, don't feel safe even when you think you're safe.

with that said, there was a lot that i did like and love.  like corpse bride, i loved the bold, brilliant colors of the "other world".  i loved the other garden, loved that john linnel sang the other dad song.  i loved the bat dogs, the way things turned to sand, the mouse circus show, the design of the gloves that coraline liked.  wybie's motorcycle mask, the cat who disliked rats even the best days, the cotton candy cannons.  i liked their utilization of 3-d at times and how the other world deconstructed into a matrix-esque void.  i was even more impressed when i flipped through my american cinematographer issue and learned that that was not cg: the dissolution was actual set design.

i liked how everyone wasn't perfect at the end.  in fact, that was the idea: that "perfect" isn't really perfect at all.

perhaps it wasn't as dark as i recall.  but it was darker than i was expecting.
mostly, though, it was the old lady in the stage show that pushed me away.  definitely wasn't expecting that....

p.s. up comes out may 29th.  = )


Em said...

I've been longing to see this, but I expect to have some issues with it, same issues you have, only deeper with my whole mother heart thing.

Did you know that every single thing you see in that movie is handmade? Even the clothing was all knitted by hand with sewing needles. It looks to be visually stunning, I just don't know if I can handle the narrative.

The Former 786 said...

Thanks for this review. I've had interest in this movie and wanted to know if I'd like it. Based on this entry I think I may.

Though it may not be as playful as my beloved Nightmare Before Christmas, I think I'll really enjoy the dark story.


Tim said...

The book is actually darker than the movie, at least I thought it was.

And going on what Em said -- even the blades of grass were made and placed by hand so that they could all move individually, along with every leaf on the trees (the forest was something like 6 meters long if I'm not mistaken).

For months Neil Gaiman has been telling people that it's not a "safe" movie. Reviewers have stated that it's darker than Gremlins on occasion. I wouldn't go that far, but then, I knew what to expect.

Tim said...

Oh, and the first picture you posted is from the game American McGee's Alice. He was originally a member of id and work on level design and music. If you thought Coraline was dark, just take a look at that game. There's a level where you're in a children's sanitarium in the twisted Wonderland...that almost gave me nightmares.

Jaime said...

yeah.. i dont think pasties or string bikini bottoms should be in a "children's" movie. i dont care who you are. ha.

Laurie said...

I really, really, really love this book. I'm kind of afraid the movie will ruin it.

Alyssa Rock said...

On a sort of unrelated note, but since you alluded to and mentioned TMBG, did you hear they won a grammy for best children's album last night?