Posted by: Mish | March 8, 2009


Be careful what you wish for. The grass is greener on the other side. The need to be loved. These came to mind while watching Coraline, the new 3-D animation film based off of Neil Gaiman’s dark fairy tale of the same title.

In this Alice-like tale, Coraline finds a secret door in her new home and discovers a similar, but better life. There, her other parents pay attention to her and want her around so much that they don’t want her to go. To stay all she needs to do is change. What’s one little adjustment? Coraline must rely on her wits, resourcefulness, and courage to return to her ordinary life.

The cast was good all around: Dakota Fanning (Coraline), Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman (parents), Robert Bailey Jr. (Wybie, a strange boy), Ian McShane (Mr. Bobinsky, a neighbor), and Keith David (a stray black cat). Also among the voices were the hilarious duo, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, as the elderly old biddies next door. As a long time fan of their humor, they were an absolutely fabulous surprise.

Coraline was good, worth seeing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next year it receives an Academy Award or a Hugo Award, the latter of which is given for excellence in the science fiction and fantasy realms. Notably, it is the first stop-motion film to be shot in stereoscopic 3D. Henry Silick, who directed the Nightmare Before Christmas, really kept to Gaiman’s style. I’ve heard from others that it stands up well to the nightmarish novella. Given that fans of books or writers are the toughest to please, that’s a big compliment.

During a recent visit to NYC, a friend asked if I was interested in seeing Coraline, to which my immediate response was “YES!” I liked it a lot and would see it again. That it lept out at us added to the fun. Seeing the film has pushed Gaiman’s fairy tale up on my list from “possibly” to “will read”. Books are usually better than their movie versions anyway.

Anyone see and/or read either version or both? What did you think?



  1. I had to read the book for class last year. I would have hated it as I kid and can’t say I liked it much then either, but I did finish it in a sitting so… I’d be curious to see the film just to see Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as the old ladies next door.

    Like the new layout. 🙂

  2. What didn’t you like about it? IMHO, the movie’s worth seeing for them at least.

    Thanks. Don’t know how I feel about this layout yet. Too white, but it works better with the banner. Meh.

  3. Expect a review of the movie on the Athenaeum! It’s one of the few movies which doesn’t just do justice to Gaiman’s story, but also enhances it, ie. the visuals make the story richer and “fuller”. Could be because I’m reading the book from an adult POV; no doubt a child/YA would have more intense visualization of the Gaiman story.

    That will be explained in the imminent review… do read the book, it’d be worth your while and you can finish it in one sitting.

  4. Movies rarely do justice to their books anyway. One can only hope the book doesn’t end up butchered and remains close to it. But seeing it and knowing Gaiman’s writing style and imagery, I was pretty happy with the movie. I’ll get to the book at some point.

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