I’ve just come home from watching a preview of the animated stop-motion 3D fantasy film of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Wow, I really, really enjoyed it. It’s deliciously creepy, visually fascinating and hilarious! I definitely recommend you go and see it; I think it opens August 6 at the Nova, Carlton.
Directed by Henry Selik, it definitely reminded me of James and the giant peach.
The story of Coraline, the girl who steps through a locked door and finds an alternative world which has her other mother and her other father, is a thrillingly frightening story.
In Neil Gaiman’s introduction to Coraline, he explains:
Coraline began when my daughter Holly came home from kindergarten to the house we lived in Nutley, Sussex, and climbed on my lap, and began to dictate stories. She was four. In her stories a small girl came home to find her mother was being impersonated by a witch. Soon she was imprisoned in the cellar, and, with a girl called Lucy Jane, had to escape to find her real mother (who had gone to America).
Neil Gaiman started writing his version of the story for Holly. He started and then stopped mid-sentence for six years. Holly was thirteen when he restarted it.
Neil Gaiman says that Coraline is not so much a story about fear as one of bravery.
It was interesting that Shaun Tan was asked to introduce the preview of the film Coraline at the Nova tonight. There was a certain randomness about this, and he looked very aware of it as he read his Wikipedia notes from a crumpled piece of paper. He did mention that he had met Neil Gaiman and that he had sold him a picture of an Egyptian drinking a beer. There, that’s the connection. Tan also said that he shared Gaiman’s interest in stories that were not for children, but about children. The audience enjoyed Tan’s list of all the stories that featured children without their parents. He reminded us that many, many popular stories about children somehow got rid of the parents (either through death or other means) in order to create that sense of excitement and danger.
The Coraline website won a Webby! No wonder; it’s fun.
If you’re interested in reading about how the puppets were made for the film, and looking at photos, then have a look on this blog.