Exclusive: First Impressions of Coraline
Coraline is a high-definition stop-motion animated feature – the first to be originally filmed in stereoscopic 3D – based on Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling book. A young girl (Dakota Fanning) walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life – only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents (including Other Mother Teri Hatcher) try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home – and save her family.
This past Monday a select group of press and college students were invited to watch clips from this new fairy tale, sprung forth from the minds of Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect pairing. Since this is adapted from Gaiman’s book of the same name, there is little worry from the company, crew or myself in throwing out spoilers, but know that I’ll do my best not to ruin the whole experience for you!
Our film clip begins innocently enough. A young girl named Coraline (natch) looks for attention from parents who seem too busy to enjoy their lives, much less indulge their daughter to the extent she wishes. There are wonders around her, but all fall short of her expectations. The man upstairs trains animals for his mini-circus, which is not quite ready yet. The ladies living below seem only as theatrical as their imaginations allow them to reach, which is not very far. One kindred spirit lingers near and shares her imaginative spirit but seems more a nuisance than true friend. In fact, everything in this place seems to peck at Coraline’s spirit, leaving her a prime target for more sinister plots. Before long Coraline finds a door to another world where her every whim is indulged, her favorite things delivered, and her dearest wishes anticipated and presented on a silver platter. All seems flawless, but perfection comes at a cost our heroine is not prepared to pay. Things quickly go from fairy tale to nightmare, and Coraline must fight to regain the humdrum existence she once fled from so eagerly.
Coraline is a view master reel come to life with 3D aspects so flawless at times you’ll barely realize the lengths taken to create this world. You’ll constantly be reminding yourself ... this is done with puppets, correct? It’s mindblowing to consider that the technology utilized in stop-motion animation has changed very little since the birth of King Kong!
Coraline is considerably less creepy than Nightmare Before Christmas and yet more sinister beneath the surface, almost more threatening. I figured that would bear mentioning as the comparison will come up often, second only to James and the Giant Peach. Where James is more a spanning adventure, Coraline is confined to a far smaller world, enhancing its creepy quotient with a healthy dose of claustrophobia.
One of the perks of this job is getting the opportunity to work alongside people we admire and bring back the goods for you, our readers. This event allows me to present a collection of pictures of the actual puppets used in Coraline, so head on over to our Coraline photo gallery to check them out.
“Colaline is a film for brave children from 8 to 80,” director Henry Selick told us. Watch for it February 6th, 2009, and keep checking back with Dread Central as we bring you more from the cast and crew!
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