I read Neil Gaiman’s wonderful children’s novel Coraline last month and blogged about it here, knowing the movie was out this month. Given a choice, I prefer to read the book and then see the movie. So yesterday my daughter and I went to see the film…
It was also our first movie in 3D. At Easter we went to see Monsters v Aliens. The cinema had it in both 2D and 3D; Juliet was wary of the glasses, so we opted for the 2D (which was cheaper too). Fortunately for us, Coraline was only on show in 3D this time, and despite the slightly uncomfortable glasses it was worth the difference.
The new system uses polarized light to produce steroscopic images – ie what each eye would see. The two images are projected in alternate frames with a higher than normal frame rate, and the polarized glasses then ensure that each eye sees its intended picture only – but its fast enough that it seems continuous and the brain combines them to get the full picture. If you don’t have the glasses, a scene with a large and detailed depth of field will seem blurred. But enough of the science – on to the film!
Just as in the book, Coraline is a very practical and independent young girl, not much phases her. So when she discovers the passage into an altenate world where her other mother and father can’t do enough for her, compared with her too busy parents in the real one, she enjoys herself. But when her other mother says she can stay but only if she lets her replace her eyes with black buttons, (here the needle and thread come straight at you in 3D), she’s only scared for a moment, and talks her way out of it and solves the other problems then put in her path steadily. That’s the only problem really – it is a dark story, but in the film she’s not scared enough. Maybe this was a deliberate ploy to protect the sensibilities of young children, but it did dampen down the action, and the evil other mother seems rather easily defeated in the end.
Visually – it is totally stunning. Stop motion has never looked so good, made with hundreds of precision models as opposed to Wallace and Gromit’s homely ‘Claymation’ style. The 3D effects have been used brilliantly throughout. The old ladies (voiced by French and Saunders) were grotesquely funny – and made us laugh with their half-naked vaudeville act.
One recommendation – if you see the film – do visit the website http://coraline.com/ afterwards – it’s rather fab with loads of things to do including see what you look like with buttons for eyes – you have been warned!