It takes a certain kind of person to adore movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show, Return to Oz, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and most recently, Coraline. It takes a person with a sick sense of humor and a love of all things twisted. Well, I AM THAT PERSON.
Once I finished the book, I had to see the movie. Let me be clear: I loved the movie before I knew anything about it. I now love it more, because I now know it was directed by Henry Selick—the dude who brought us James and the Giant Peach and my epic favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Strangely enough, the guy was even on the art direction team for Return to Oz.) So yes, Coraline is the same wacky, stop-motion animation as his other flicks … and it’s just as disconcerting.
Coraline is the story of … urm … Coraline—an adventurous little girl with blue hair (and blue fingernails—excellent). She has just moved to a new apartment with her parents, who are both too busy with their jobs to actually pay attention to their daughter. So Coraline runs around by herself, meeting the annoying neighbor boy, Wybie; two crazy ex-actresses downstairs, way past their prime; a black cat with crazy blue eyes; and an acrobatic Russian, training circus mice on the top floor. Soon, she discovers a secret door in her family’s apartment. When she goes through it, well, here’s where it gets weird: she finds her family’s apartment, only it’s different. It’s more fun. She also finds her Other Mother and her Other Father, who are super cool and they pay attention to her and they make yummy food and they … have black buttons … for eyes … but anyway, that can be overlooked, right?
I don’t think this is a movie for most kids, even though it’s animation. I don’t think Gaiman’s book was written for most kids either, even though it was published by Scholastic. I do believe this movie and this book are perfect for people like me—the ones with the sick senses of humor and twisted imaginations. So if you’re one of us, do check out Coraline—book and movie. It’ll leave you with some heebie-jeebies, and yeah, you’ll probably dream of giant cockroaches. But hey, a little nightmare never hurt anyone. Right …?