Friday, February 13, 2009

Coraline in 3D total delight

I know some folks might not do their Valentine's Day date at a movie where you have to wear thick black glasses that made you both look like Buddy Holly. And in my case turned me from "4 eyes" to six eyes. This in no way took away from the romance. We shared a large bag of popcorn, drank one soda with two straws, and occasionally just had to look at each other in wonder. Because wonder is the main feeling we came away with.

I sat next to two woman who were also big Neil Gaiman (writer of original book) and Henry Selick (uber talented director/animator) fans. I ooohed and aaaaahed in simulcast with them. The one in the middle was amused by the sterio effect of our exclamations. And she, it turns out, is a magician. We agreed it was fitting that both kids and people our age were there. One little boy took to calling out Coraline's correct name when other characters would assume she was a Caroline.

The whole movie, from opening titles to the bonus 3D bling-bling sign off at the end of the credits, was so completely visualized and imaginative that I was hitting an imaginary remote wanting to slow it down and see how they did it!

Yes, there were a few things that could have been a bit better. The set up with the parents in the beginning was good but a few more lines of dialogue, setting up the parallels to come, would have sharpened it up. Coraline is a girl who is neglected by parents when they are under a deadline to finish writing and editing copy for a gardening project. But who is afraid of her growing up? Coraline, her mother? Both of them? Events prove these fears find plenty of forms.

Ah well, a few quibbles in an otherwise FANTASTIC movie. The restraint in how to use the 3D was brilliant. The other world felt more real, in edges and heft, than the real world. That beguiling too good to be true place that typified American spending the last decade.

I loved the music, the thousands of touches, the gleeful parallels in whimsy and malice between worlds, and the wonderfully expressive faces and gestures on the characters. Must see it again. Selick is a genius.

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