Thespian Thursday: “Coraline”

thespian thursday

By The Nerdling

I have been all about the Neil Gaiman lately.  Probably because I’m waiting for a release dates for American Gods season 2 (which has only just begun filming) and the Good Omens mini-series (which has finally wrapped).  All this anticipation has me revisiting my favorite books by Gaiman and the best adaptations of his work.  This all leads me to Coraline.

Based on Gaiman’s best-selling children’s book, this stop-motion film features the voice talents of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Ian McShane, Robert Bailey Jr., and Keith David.

Full of color and psychedelic (and sometimes horrifying) visuals, this is one for the bizarre kids.  The weirdo children who call Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story, The Dark Crystal, and Return to Oz the best kind of kid’s movies.  If you or your child loves The Nightmare Before Christmas, then you’re in luck! Coraline is from the same director.

Coraline and the Other Parents
Image Courtesy of Focus Features

Coraline Jones moves from Michigan into the Pink Palace Apartments in Oregon with her parents.  Soon after she meets her eccentric neighbors Mr. Bobinsky, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible along with the grandson of the landlady, Wybie Lovat.  Wybie gives Coraline a doll he found which resembles the young girl and tells her stories of children who have gone missing from the apartment complex.  Angry at her parents for moving her away from her friends and proceeding to ignore her in favor of finishing their book on gardening, Coraline lashes out at Wybie’s attempts to make friends, but keeps the doll.

One night, after an unsatisfying dinner cooked by her mother, Coraline follows a couple of mice through a small door located in her living room.  On the other side is a home that looks just like hers, but nicer and meets the button-eyed doppelgangers of her parents and neighbors.  This “Other World” has parents who are attentive and caring, her neighbors are entertaining, Wybie can’t speak, and only a minor sense that something is not right.  Feeling more loved on the other side of the door has Coraline contemplating Other Mother’s offer to stay permanently, but to do so would mean she would have to replace her eyes with buttons.

Coraline is a great cautionary tale for kids and their parents.  Children are warned about the dangers of things that are too good to be true.  Parents are advised to not ignore their children, lest they go find attention elsewhere.

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