Director: Henry Selick
Original Release: 2009
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
This week presented a rare instance in which Our Girl had the advantage: she had read the book Caroline whereas neither of her parents had. We had to remind her not to give away too much of the story as we were watching. She waited until afterward to tell us about the differences between book and movie.
I have mixed feelings about Neil Gaiman, the book's author. On the one hand, he is the screenwriter for one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes: "The Doctor's Wife," a deserving Hugo winner. On the other hand, he first made his name in the comic book world, especially The Sandman series. I tried the first collected volume of Sandman, entitled Preludes & Nocturnes. While I certainly appreciated the novelty and invention, the story is, frankly, a bit gross at times. I'm alright with creepy or even scary. I really don't go in for gross.
Coraline is far from gross. Instead, it is a dark but ultimately sweet and redeeming tale with a very believable title character. Coraline, a young, I'd say pre-teen, girl moves to a new house with her parents. She's bored. She feels unappreciated. She finds a portal to an alternate world with a seemingly better family. Choices must be made but not all is as it seems.
The stop-action animation is lovely, my favorite a Van Gogh Starry Night-inspired sequence towards the end. The pacing is interesting with a relatively slow initial development for a children's movie - not necessarily a bad thing but unusual. I am genuinely curious about the book now. Our Girl enjoyed both.
- A strong female-lead - a definite plus at our house.
- A relatively sophisticated story for a children's film but still more formulaic than the average Miyazaki offering.
My Rating System:
5 = The best of the best. These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films. They're fine. Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it. It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film. An insult to the art form.