Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Coraline

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

My head’s a very interesting place to be.  There’s unicorns, rainbows, ghosts, funny anecdotes, Angelina Jolie, rainbow sprinkle cookieland, wonderment, etc.  But Coraline’s world might be a tad cooler.  

I was lucky enough to live in a city where I could go see Coraline in 3-D and that was pretty amazing.  It is an experience.  It’s like taking a bath in imagination.  And then suddenly someone adds a big dash of crazy nightmares that might be a result of eating too much candy before bed.  

The movie is creepy, beautiful and spectacular, which shouldn’t come as a shock, since it was directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas).  I loved being in that world and being along for the ride.  

LA Viewers: Go see it in 3-D.  

Translation for non-LA viewers: Same goes for you.  I don’t care if you live in a barn in the middle of nowhere.  

JESSICA SAYS:

Reason #482 for me to be annoyed by (the) Jonas Brothers:  I showed up at the theater all excited to see Coraline in 3-D.  The usher took our tickets and pointed us toward the right theater.  I asked where we get our 3-D glasses.  That’s when I was informed that, despite what was posted online, the movie theater decided to show Jonas Brothers:  the 3-D Concert Experience on the only 3-D screen at the theater.

After seeing the film, I now know that I really was cheated by not seeing Coraline in 3-D.  The animation in this film (for the most part, but I’ll get to that in a second) is spectacular. This style of stop-motion animation uses real materials, just on a very small scale.  Even without seeing it in 3-D, you can see the actual fibers that make up everything on screen.

Coraline is the story of a girl who moves to a new apartment in a strange house filled with odd neighbors.  The neighbors are so odd that, if you asked me, they all probably could benefit from some time in a comfortable mental facility.  She is ignored by her parents and thus, escapes into a fantasy world (or is it?).  Now I will be honest; I procrastinated writing this review for a long time and I still and not 100% certain what I think or want to say about Coraline.  I think it comes down to the fact that the visuals are so great that they sort of cover the fact that I didn’t find the story that engrossing.  The story is definitely supposed to be a parable, but about what, I’m not entirely sure.  Is the lesson parents who ignore you are better than seemingly perfect parents who want to take your eyeballs?  Is the lesson, even though reality can suck, it’s better than fantasy?  I guess my point is – what was the point?

My only negative comment on the animation side of the film happens toward the end.  As Coraline’s alternate reality starts to unravel…literally…things get bizarre.  I understand the effect they were going for, but the look of the animation as her fantasy world unravelled seemed so out of whack with the rest of the film.  Now a warning, I’m about to get a bit snarky, but…

Teri Hatcher voices Coraline’s mother.  You know how you can always see a little bit of the voice actor in the drawing of the character?  For instance, you can see Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the way Woody and Buzz Lightyear look and move.  Well, I didn’t see any of Teri Hatcher in the original incarnation of Coraline’s mother.  That is, until things started to go pear-shaped in Coraline’s fantasy world and her mother morphed into a scary skeletal-looking woman and eventually became a spider.  The scarier the character was drawn the more she looked like the real Teri Hatcher.  I don’t entirely understand why that is.  I mean, yes, she is a bit on the scarily thin side of things, but I think Teri Hatcher is a lovely woman.  

Coraline as a whole is good, but not great.  The animation is fantastic, but they could take a few notes from Pixar on how to structure a cohesive story.  I’m going to say if you can see it in 3-D, do.  Otherwise wait for the DVD.

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