Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coraline - 2009 - Dir. Selick

I was kind of disappointed in Coraline. I dunno. I'm not really sure what I was expecting. Well, I suppose since the reviews were so positive. And it sure did LOOK neat. But the movie felt fairly hollow to me. Visually, it's pretty stunning, I wish I had been able to see it in 3-D, I imagine it might have made a bit of a difference, as it did with Up, although I really never felt that the film was selling me a hallow experience as Coraline did. I dunno, it's sort of funny to say but the film doesn't feel like it has much of a soul. It simply moves us from one stunning visual set piece to another, skipping of the "Why's" of the story. There's no real origin of the Bedlam, the antagonist of the story. She just seems to exist and that's about it. Coraline doesn't seem to really learn very much. She seems to appreciate her parents a little bit more. The story wraps itself up neatly, seeming to suggest that if Coraline's family didn't have money issues, the movie would have never happened. I dunno, I felt that I kept asking more from the backstory, I wanted to have an idea of who these people were. Coraline is spunky, her parents are busy. Are they ALWAYS busy? Is Coraline being bratty because she isn't being paid attention to? Because she moved? Is she always this way? Past the visuals, I couldn't really find anything to latch onto in the film. I wanted to care. I wanted some story telling. The third act fetch quest is intensely rushed and hectic functioning mostly on visual themes that were set up previously. See, that's the thing, the film does set up a really REALLY palpable sense of dread and menace throughout though. Maybe another reason why I was so let down. It actually does a really good job of creating atmosphere. We see hints of the nightmare from the start of the film. I was getting really nervous and excited for what might be going on. What the movie was going to TURN INTO. But when the nightmare reveals itself, it seems impotent, that the bark was actually worse than the bite. And since the nightmare world is so easily dispelled, it immediately becomes WAY less threatening. I mean, the opening sequence of the doll making is vulgar or violent in a way, as if we're watching the destruction and reformation of a person. I was immediately pulled into it. Coraline had everything on its side when it started out, totally dropping the ball for me, but left behind some fairly impressive visuals.

Even Coraline is pissed at Dakota Fanning!

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