Last night the
NFT BFI Southbank had a showing of Coraline, the new stop motion film from Henry Selick (the director of “Tim Burton’s” The Nightmare Before Christmas) and based on the book by Neil Gaiman.
Now I’ve not read the book, although I believe many have – and some of them were in the audience last night.
The film has a wonderful feel to it, with the hand crafted models beautifully animated. The 3D is superbly realised without the showy “coming-out-of-the-screen” effects too many 3D films in the past have been known for.
In the Q&A afterwards, Selick explained how the physical dimensions of the two worlds was actually different…
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. The story is about a little girl, Coraline, who’s moved into the Pink Palace Apartments – basically a big house divided into three. Upstairs and downstairs are an array of colourful characters but when Coraline discovers a secret doorway it takes her into another world – the same, but different. Here, her parents spend time talking to her, and feed her lovely food. The small difference is that they have buttons for eyes.
There is, of course, much more to this world. Is it quite as wonderful as Coraline first imagines? What do you think?
The voicework is great, and the imagination is exceptional with wondeful flights of fancy all realised with inordinate creativity.
As I mentioned, we had a Q&A with Selick and Gaiman after the film, and it was informative hearing the genesis of film, the time it took to get into production (I’ll give you a clue – it was years), and the various iterations of how the film would be made before it was produced in this form.
We also heard about the differences between the book and the film. And in the audience were Ian McShane (Bobinsky) and John Hodgman (Father and Other Father). Well, I say McShane was there. He actually left early. Hodgman, however, came up on stage and joined in the discussion.
It really is fascinating listening to a discussion about how much you can scare children. We’ve had the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and of course, the Daleks in Doctor Who. Children like being scared, and the “other parents” in Coraline are the latest iterations in a long line of scary villains. Buttons for eyes are intrinsically scary. And it’s great that a film like this exists to scare a new generation of children.
And lots of adults should go and see this film too – preferably in 3D.