my other mother loves me

Yesterday, Anne convinced me to take a break from work so we could go see a matinee of Coraline, which was playing in 3D at a local theater. I love the book, and I love Nightmare Before Christmas, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

But 3D? I wasn’t so sure. I’m not a huge fan of 3D. It always feels gimmicky and intrusive, and I’m always wondering when Doctor Tongue is going to thrust a cat toward the audience.

However, my love of the source material, an excuse to play hooky with my wife, and how excited I’ve been to see the movie since I first heard they were making it was enough to get me into the theater without any real argument.

I am so glad that I went, because I loved the movie. I heard that Henry Selick wanted to use the 3D technology to give the movie depth, rather than shove things into the audience’s faces, and I thought he did exactly that. I told my friends that they don’t have to see it in 3D, but they kind of have to see it in 3D.

Speaking as a fan of the book, I was mostly happy with the adaptation. They added an entirely new character, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but he didn’t feel like Scrappy Doo to me, and if I wasn’t already a fan of the book, he wouldn’t have felt out of place to me, at all. Everything I wanted to see was there, and they managed to create the world that I’d created in my head when I read it with eerie perfection.

Speaking as a fan of movies and stop-motion animation, I was delighted. All the actors are fantastic, and the set design and animation was breathtaking. You don’t need to see it in 3D, but I thought they used the 3D experience perfectly, and if you have a choice, I’d take the 3D option (which is something I never thought I’d say.)

Coraline gets 4.5 out of 5 Beldams, on the Wheaton Scale of Randomly Rating Movies In A Way Which Is Amusing To Wil.

Seriously, people, go see it. I think you’ll love it.

38 thoughts on “my other mother loves me”

  1. I want to see it, but the new 3d just does not work for me. No matter what I see two images and do not see the 3d. Wear the glasses not wear the glasses – no difference.
    And the glasses give me a headache. Wish I could enjoy in the intended format.

  2. “I heard that Henry Selick wanted to use the 3D technology to give the movie depth, rather than shove things into the audience’s faces,”
    I thought that was a pretty good way of describing exactly how they used the 3D. there weren’t any times when the 3D felt gratuitous, but there were many times when I was amazed at how deep things looked. Not just one character on one plane and one character on another, but even depth to the individual characters. For once a 3D movie felt like something more than just looking through my old View Master.
    I felt much the same way about the new character. If I didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to be there, I wouldn’t realize that he shouldn’t be there. I even started questioning my memory after a while. I read that he was added so that Coraline would have someone to talk to rather than spending the movie talking to herself.

  3. Do you think that the movie would hold up to someone who wasn’t a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas? The style has just always felt too dark for a childrens movie. I almost feel like we’re pushing our children into the Hot Topic/Emo realm with the popularity of these dark cartoon based sort of films.
    Thoughts?

  4. So long as someone makes 3d glasses that arent those hinky cardboard things. a) I hate them. b) they suck with glasses. You should see my mutilated pair from last weeks Chuck.

  5. @SandieK: RealD doesnt use those cardboard glasses.. You get a pair of what look like sunglasses that fit nicely over your regular glasses.. and then you can either deposit the glasses in a box on your way out, or keep them for future RealD/Disney Digital 3D/whatever Dreamworks is branding their 3D at is.. since its all RealD technology they are using.

  6. I loved it. I’m starting to love Gaiman’s mind. My only complaint was that I took my daughter to see it; she’s 4, and she LOVED the whole thing, but she (and I) wasn’t sure what to make of the other Miss Spink (or Forcible, never knew which was which) when they did their burlesque/trapeze thing. She was wearing nothing but frilly panties and pasties on her DDD cup breasts Parents in the theater had jaw drop.
    http://www.latinoreview.com/images/user/coraline9.jpg
    Other than that, I think most kids would love it.

  7. I’m a huge fan of all Gaiman’s books, I’d read a collection of his shopping lists if he decided to publish one. I was going to reread bbefore the film but if there’s a biggish change, maybe I’m better off not.

  8. I’m a huge 3D fan, as well as 3D photographer. Finally, the technology has advanced enough so that the right-left separation is nearly perfect!
    The big problem with 3D has always been that cinematographers had no knowledge of how to shoot in 3D, so the most basic rules of 3D were being constantly broken… which always pissed me off. Recently they’ve been getting better at 3D composition, but I often think they should hire 3D consultants (like me) to make sure they do it right – because when 3D composition is poor, the audience finds them in the theater, and not in the movie.

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie, Wil! I was hesitant to see it, but I’m definitely putting it on my to-do list now.

  10. I’m seeing it tonight. I’m so jealous I can’t see it in 3D though. I’ve had a blast pouring over the set pictures online as well as a few making of videos. The knit gloves blew me away.
    BTW, I think I’ve watched that video you posted with Data’s paintings about 365,000 times now. “I like being strong!”

  11. Argh. Now I have stuck in my head John Candy looming in & out of frame, with the DOOO-oo! Dooo-OO! “this-is-how-you-know-it-is-3D” music bit. cue. trigger. whatever it’s called.
    My brain — now on Monster Chiller Horror Theatre.

  12. “They added an entirely new character, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but he didn’t feel like Scrappy Doo to me, and if I wasn’t already a fan of the book, he wouldn’t have felt out of place to me, at all.”
    I think Gaiman said that someone put the character in the script to deal with all of the interior monologue and narration that inevitably happens when Coraline spends much of the story running around by herself. That makes good sense, but it’s sometimes hard to add depth to a character who does the job of a Greek chorus. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I’m looking forward to seeing the new guy.

  13. You know your kids better than I do, and I haven’t had a 6 year-old for 11 years, but I wouldn’t have taken my six year-old. I think some scenes are too intense and scary for little ones, but that’s just my opinion.
    Neil says that if your child isn’t scared by The Wizard of Oz, they’ll be able to handle Coraline, so maybe that’ll be helpful.

  14. My husband and I just got back from seeing it, though unfortunately, not in 3D. I wanted to but it usually gives my husband headaches, plus all the usual reasons you stated about not liking 3D, so he just wasn’t into it. I’m wishing we had, and I may have to slip out and see it on my own at the very least.
    My only complaints were with story changes, which are really just minor quibbles and probably wouldn’t have bothered me had I not read the book. I can go with the reasoning for adding the boy, especially since his other-self was creepy as all get out. It felt like some of the more emotional moments were toned down, though. For instance, the entire closet scene with the ghosts was too rushed and the final encounter with the other father was not nearly creepy enough.
    Breathtaking, though, and very satisfying as a fan of the book. I did miss the winged girl ghost, though. I was looking forward to her!

  15. Not to be too spoilery, but my feminist self was disappointed by the changed ending. I like Wybie for his quirky charm and his dialogue, but in the book, Coraline gets to use her own smarts to win the final battle by herself. In the movie, it… doesn’t go that way, and it genuinely changes the message about plucky little girls and what they can do. There are so many other ways it could have been handled, and the way the new ending was done… Well. I was disappointed.
    Loved loved LOVED everything else, though.

  16. I’m not a feminist, and that change you described was my biggest complaint about the addition of the new character. I loved how Coroline was so resourceful in the book, and I absolutely *hated* that he literally rode to her rescue.

  17. Have you seen all the videos about how they made the film? Everything was handmade. It took years! It was hard to balance watching the plot with watching the handmade everything; I’ll certainly have to see it again. They did an amazing job reaching out to the crafts community online in anticipation of the film, too. Beyond the videos of how they made the teeny tiny sweaters and hair, they commissioned a knitware designer to create a pattern for a life-size version of one of Coraline’s sweaters. Anyway, I loved it, and I loved the music, too. And I agree with your assessments of the made-up character and the use of 3D.

  18. My kids (2.5 and 5) *really* loved Nightmare Before Christmas. They have seen it at least 4 times each and listen to the soundtrack constantly. So much so I had to get them headphones for the car. When my daughter saw the ad for Coraline she got very excited and asked if that was Nightmare 2. Now they have convinced mommy to take us all out for a family movie time to go see it.
    Is it, in any of your opinions, more scary that any part of Nightmare or Corpse Bride? If not, we are totally taking them.

  19. Took my 3 yr old to see it today – she loved it.
    The Wizard of Oz is currently her favorite at home movie – prior to that was Monster House. She sat still and mesmerized the entire time.
    It was beautiful little movie.

  20. I thought there were a few moments that were much scarier than anything in Nightmare, and I haven’t seen Corpse Bride.

  21. Pleased to see you liked the film; I was wavering based on the previews (wasn’t pleased with all of the voicing). Have you seen it more than once, 3-D as well as traditional? I admit I haven’t seen it yet and was planning to just see it in flat mode, as it were.
    This also is an opportune moment to mention that Neil Gaiman will be one of the guests of honour at the World Science Fiction Convention in MontrĂ©al this August, http://www.anticipationsf.ca…says the anglophone press liaison, just a little bit biased ( :
    Yeah, he mentioned it on his blog, but I thought if I were going to comment might as well mention, especially as you’re a comics geek I figured you’d be all over the Best Graphic Story Hugo…Anyway. Thanks for mentioning the movie!

  22. I LOVED the movie! It was very well done. I have vision problems, so I usually have a hard time seeing 3D. This I was able to see though there were parts it looked like regular 2D. I am learning stop motion, and I was extremely impressed with some of the things they did.
    As a book purist, usually I would not in a million years see a movie made from a book I like. They always manage to spoil it- “Hollywood-ize” it as my friend puts it. Coraline was an exception for me, and I am glad I went to see it. I kinda can see why they added the character, though I think it would have still been great with out him.
    I would say, too, that if your kid is OK with Corpse Bride they night be OK with this movie. However, Corpse Bride had songs and a lot more silliness than Coraline.

  23. can’t wait to see the movie. although, i will admit to being a bigger fan of “tin man” than the “wizard of oz”. for plucky heriones, try hayao miyazaki.

  24. Hey Wil,
    I’ve been following your blog for years (my god has it been that long??). Usually I check in every couple weeks and read everything I’ve missed. A nice afternoon with Uncle Wil ;) Sorry, but this has nothing to do with the movie but has confused/interested me for a bit and you don’t have an email listed so that one can email you directly so …. here we are. Whats with the vegetarianism / health food kick? I remember reading blog posts of you enthusiastically endorsing medium rare hamburgers, etc. When did the vegetarianism happen? Why did it happen? Do you real feel better with the healthy food? What is your food philosophy? I know these are a ton of personal questions but a blog post, maybe entitled “Wil’s Philosophy on Food” would interest me (and probably others) immensely. I’m considering vegetarianism myself and would like to hear about the experiences of somebody who went through it. Especially health benefits/side-effects. Of course, you’re your own boss, do as you please, but if the urge strikes you one time to rant about the evils of processed foods etc. I would be keenly interested.
    Love your writing man! Because of you I’m starting off my writing “career”. Hopefully will make enough money at it to do it full time. Yeah, ok. My longwinded post now ends :) Take care.
    Ev.

  25. I haven’t stopped raving about it since Friday night. The voices (mostly Forcible/Spink!), the music (TMBG!), and THOUSANDS of tiny details. I think any minor shortcomings (Wybie and even Coraline herself felt kinda boring as characters to me sometimes) can be overlooked when you consider the amount of effort that went into making such a beautiful work of art. Our brains assume that anything amazing in current film was created by a computer. But, while watching, if you stop to consider that everything was made by hand (including 10,500 hands!), it inspires faith in film. I’m not normally fanatic, but I am making an exception for this movie and adding it to my very select ‘best-loved’ library immediately (right next to Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and Nightmare). Ok, done gushing.

  26. Okay, you and my love of the book have finally worn me down. I’ll grab my 3-D glasses off my lampshade (where they live for some reason), drag my friends and go see it!

  27. Talking to a friend of mine with small children, I equated the scariness of this movie to the scenes from Sleeping Beauty with Maleficent and her dragon transformation.

  28. There used to be a McKean site where you could view his illustrations of the book. Can’t find it now post movie….
    That was one of the most wonderful creepy parts of the book.
    Anyone know where i can get the OLD Coraline gunk?

  29. I had the same experience with Bolt 3D – there were a couple (required, I suppose) jump-out-of-the-screen moments, but for the most part, the 3D was used to add depth to scenes. It made for a great experience.
    Props on the SCTV reference, btw.

  30. I loved it as well, though I wasn’t able to see it in 3D, unfortunately. Saturday was a perfect day for my family – we all (me, my husband, daughter, son, and stepson) went to Coraline, had tacos, then played Munchkin ’til nearly midnight…:P
    Anyway, all things Gaiman rock, no exceptions. The movie absolutely captured the essence of the book and was just plain stunning – when I whispered to my 11-year-old stepson (who wasn’t that thrilled about going beforehand – a movie about a girl?;) that there were no CGI effects whatsover, he was amazed…and when we left, he for once admitted that I was right – he loved it.

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