Sunday, 26 May 2013

Coraline: Just For Kids … ?

26th May, 2013

You know, I’ve a very old friend who — when I mentioned, by SMS, what I was watching, tonightª — raised an interesting point.

“If you’re going to start watching films based on the work of Neil Gaiman, why start with what’s basically a kids film?”

There’s possibly a couple of good answers, there.

1)     When I rented it from iTunes, Coraline was the only adaption of Gaiman’s work that I knew about: frankly, I wasn’t going to faff about looking for another, unless I had more time.

2)     The other answer, the one I just thought of, making a cocoa while I was mulling over this post?   Was simply that we expect kids to start with kids films.   Some of which can be scary, if they’ve not been too Disneyfied‡.

I’m thinking, here that Coraline might well not be as scary as — say — The Wizard Of Oz* or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey†.

But certainly isn’t Disney … !


Directed by Henry Selick — and based on Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name — Coraline tells the story of Coraline Jones: a little girl who’s family has moved to a flat in the Pink Palace and who is warned to beware of ‘the door’.

Advise that, like ANY heroine, she promptly ignores.   Only to find, at the end of a long corridor, that there’s an other world.

Complete with other neighbours.

An other father.

An other Pink Palace.

And an other Mother, who, like everything else in this world, has little black buttons for eyes.

And a curiously urgent need to impress her not quite daughter … 


Now … 

How to tell you I liked it … ?

Well, I’ll be out and out straight about it, I liked Coraline.

OK, granted, this may be a fill that’s aimed at children.

Please notice I say may.

But I think that — like any well-rounded film — Coraline is one that both adults and children will be able to watch.

And walk away from, feeling both unnerved and enriched, having seen a latter-day Orpheus beat the horrors of a latter-day Underworld.

What more can one ask … ?

*        I’ve known grown adults get a touch thrown by the Flying Monkeys.

†        Which I only just saw recently.   One thing I should have mentioned at the time — and feel is relevant, here — is quite how scary the scene between Gollum and Bilbo actually is.   You’ve seen Silence of the Lambs, yes?   THE thriller film of the 1990s, that shaped much of todays taste for crime drama featuring forensic psychology … ?   That set of scenes, between Bilbo and Gollum, in on a par with the scenes between Foster and Hopkins: both in emotional intensity and fright factor.

‡        Now I think of it … ?   I can’t help but wonder a certain amount of pant wetting terror isn’t good for us.   So long as there’s a sofa around, to hide behind … … 

ª        Graham, get the innocent look OFF the face … 

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