Coraline

Movie Information

The Story: A young girl finds a portal to another world -- one that appears to offer everything she could want. The Lowdown: A beautifully made, richly detailed and wonderfully developed film, but one that lacks much in the way of an emotional core, and is ultimately a horror movie made with kids in mind.
Score:

Genre: Animated Children's Horror
Director: Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach)
Starring: (Voices) Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, Ian McShane
Rated: PG

Pity Henry Selick. He’s the man who can’t get out of Tim Burton’s shadow. It’s understandable in a way, since Selick’s fame is so inextricably tied to his status as the titular director of Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), a work that owes far more to Burton’s imagination than to its director. That Burton also produced Selick’s James and the Giant Peach (1996) probably doesn’t help matters, and the fact that almost no one saw Selick’s only other feature, Monkeybone (2001), leaves him best known—or rather unknown—as the director of a film that includes the name of a much more famous filmmaker in its title.

Nonetheless, I’m not sure that any of this excuses the banner atop the Chicago Tribune announcing “Tim Burton’s Coraline,” or the poll on the IMDb where you can vote as to whether or not Coraline is Tim Burton’s best film yet, or the people who come out of Coraline thinking they’ve seen a Tim Burton picture. Here at last Henry Selick has made a fine film of his own and he still can’t get the credit. Let’s put it to rest: Coraline is not a Tim Burton film. It is a Henry Selick film adapted by Selick from a book by Neil Gaiman—and a fascinating film it is, especially in 3-D.

Despite the fact that Coraline looks a bit like a Burton picture, it really bears little relation to Burton—or even to Burton’s sense of the macabre. Burton’s work—dark-tinged as it often is—is essentially playful. The grotesqueries in his fantasies like Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride (2005) are not to be taken seriously; they are meant to be fun. The world of Selick’s Coraline is a much darker place. What Selick has made is a horror movie for children.

That’s neither a bad thing, nor is it as strange as a lot of people seem to find it. After all, who do you think made up the biggest audience for all those old horror pictures on TV’s Shock Theater programs? Why were so many of the Hammer horror movies of the 1960s shown as Saturday matinees? And really, before they were sanitized by antsy parent groups, nearly all fairy tales were horrific in nature. Take, for example, “Hansel and Gretel,” a story about a witch who traps children in order to eat them, and is defeated by being knocked into an oven and burned alive. Yes, it’s also a cautionary tale, but then so is Coraline.

The theme of Coraline—be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it—is an old one. It’s expressed here in the form of a little girl, Coraline (Dakota Fanning), with a set of preoccupied parents, whose negligent attitude makes her long for better parents. Coraline seems to find what she has been yearning for on the other side of a sealed door, behind which lies a tunnel (the design of which Dr. Freud would have something to say about) that leads to an alternate world and a seemingly better life, complete with doting mirror-image parents. That all the inhabitants—including the parents—have buttons for eyes is the first clue that things are not as rosy as they may appear. And, of course, it all turns out to be a snare and a dangerous illusion.

There’s really nothing surprising about the story itself, though it is very cleverly worked out and shrewdly developed. (A second look at the film—and it’s worth one—starts to reveal just how shrewd the development really is. The foreshadowing and the subtle use of facial expressions are both truly remarkable.) What makes the film unusual lies in just how dark and creepy the whole thing is. Though rated PG—and rightly so, because there’s nothing actually censorable about the film—Coraline is a singularly unsettling, even disturbing film. There’s much that is visually stunning, but much of the undeniable beauty is undercut by a sense of something not being “right.” And the few moments in the film that could qualify as cute are just waiting to expose their darkly sinister side. There aren’t many hard R horror films that are this effective.

What keeps the film from actual greatness is a lack of emotional resonance. For all its well-defined atmosphere and menace, Coraline suffers from an almost complete lack of sympathetic characters. Coraline herself isn’t even likable. She’s brusque and rude, no better than her real parents. Even such potentially sympathetic characters—like her surrogate father and the hunchbacked Wyborn (Robert Bailey Jr., The Happening)—are undermined by their sheer creepiness. The same is true of the old music-hall performers (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French) who live downstairs and the mouse-training circus performer (Ian McShane) who lives upstairs, despite the fact that they all have some hand in defeating the evil that pervades the old house they inhabit.

All of this should be borne in mind when deciding for whom the film is appropriate. I have no trouble or hesitation in recommending it to horror-movie fans of any age. I do not, however, think Coraline is suitable for smaller children, who could easily find it to be the stuff of nightmares. It is a remarkable work, but it’s not without its flaws, nor without its potential perils for younger viewers. Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

59 thoughts on “Coraline

  1. Dread P. Roberts

    I’m so glad to see that this movie has received positive reviews (both here, and largely so on Rotten Tomatoes). I have yet to go to the movies this year, both due to financial restraints, and somewhat of a lack in the way of ‘quality’ films being released (which I understand is usually the case this time of year), I have not yet made it since seeing “Benjamin Button” at the end of last year. I have tried on a couple of occasions to make a “Bloody Valentine” date night, but it has yet to materialize. I have had quite the itch to go to the movies, and this will undoubtedly be just the ‘ticket’ to convince my wife to join me in my mad pursuits this saturday night (being such a huge fan of “Nightmare Before Christmas”). Besides, call me childish if you so please, but I just really want to see a movie in frikin’ 3D! I intend to make this the first film that I see (in Theaters) of 2009.

    And the few moments in the film that could qualify as cute are just waiting to expose their darkly sinister side. There aren’t many hard R horror films that are this effective.

    This one line makes me more exited to see the movie than anything else that I have yet to read.

  2. TonyRo

    My brother and I took my three year old niece to see this and I’m pretty sure I was more scared than she was..haha. We skipped seeing it in 3-D, which I feel like was a wise move. 3-D just seems past it’s time by now.

    I loved the animation and camerawork in it, really sophisticated for a stop-motion flick. That whole scene where the garden that was made just for her comes to life….it was amazing.

    I was apprehensive when I read online that Selick added another child character to the story (her neighbor..that kid with the crazy hair), but it worked very well with the story.

  3. Ken Hanke

    3-D just seems past it’s time by now.

    The studios and the theater chains would disagree with that. You’re likely to only see more of it, not less. And as soon as all theaters are capable of running movies in the process, I doubt the 2-D choice will even exist.

  4. My kids saw a preview of Coraline, and immediately said there was no way they were going to see it. I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, though, and I can’t wait to see it. Thanks for making me feel that it’s OK for me to attend a kids’ film without my kids, Ken.

  5. Dionysis

    I don’t, as a rule, like any kind of animated film and never have. But in this case, I am intriqued and will probably check it out this weekend.

  6. tatuaje

    I, too, am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. Like everyone else on this planet, the ‘Sandman’ series is a favorite. And ‘American Gods’ & ‘Fragile Things’ are two favorites as well. And although the whole 3D thing makes me a little skeptical (the last 3D movie I saw was the ‘Jaws’ version, I believe) 4 stars from Mr. Hanke makes me pretty sure I’ll make it to the theater for this one….

  7. Tat,
    I saw “Bolt” in 3D with the kids, and I was pretty blown away by how cool it was. It’s no longer the fuzzy-around-the-edges, headache-inducing 3D of yesteryear.

  8. tatuaje

    Have the glasses gotten any better? I seem to remember feeling like I was wearing a pizza box on my face with two holes cut out….

  9. Yep, now the glasses are plastic and reusable, with black Wayfarer-type frames. Less sustainable and still one-size-fits-all, but better.

  10. I don’t, as a rule, like any kind of animated film and never have. But in this case, I am intriqued and will probably check it out this weekend.

    Oh man are you missing out on some great stuff. And I’m not even talking about Pixar.

    This movie was fantastic. Hearing squeals and crying from the kids in the audience reminded me of being plopped into a theater by myself in the 70s. Scare em more I say!

  11. Ken Hanke

    Besides, call me childish if you so please, but I just really want to see a movie in frikin’ 3D! I intend to make this the first film that I see (in Theaters) of 2009.

    Both this and Bloody Valentine are unusually fine examples of the format. I think I have a slight preference — in terms of 3-D only — for Valentine because of the incredibly intelligent use of lighting and production design — something much harder to achieve with actors and full-size practical sets. As a movie, Coraline wins the prize, though.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Thanks for making me feel that it’s OK for me to attend a kids’ film without my kids, Ken.

    Good heavens, I do that all the time, but I have an excuse.

  13. Ken Hanke

    I don’t, as a rule, like any kind of animated film and never have. But in this case, I am intriqued and will probably check it out this weekend.

    I’m a hard-sell on animation. If we exempt early sound Betty Boop cartoons from Max and Dave Fleischer — some of which I find endlessly fascinating — I own very little animated material. I have one Disney animated feature (people can guess what it is), The Nightmare Before Xmas, Corpse Bride, Yellow Submarine, some Miyazaki and the astonishing Paprika. I will be adding Coraline to that.

  14. Ken Hanke

    Yep, now the glasses are plastic and reusable, with black Wayfarer-type frames. Less sustainable and still one-size-fits-all, but better.

    Afterwards, they’re good for Roy Orbison impressions.

    Seriously, this Real-D process is an advance on the polarized 3-D process, which is very different from the anaglyphic 3-D that uses the cardboard-frame 3-D glasses with the red and blue “lenses.”

  15. Kevin F.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Ralph Bakshi is the animator to watch for people (like me) who generally don’t like animation. Ken was soured on him when he watched AMERICAN POP (which I honestly think is his worst film). HEAVY TRAFFIC, WIZARDS, and yes, even COOL WORLD are different stories altogether. He is best known for FRITZ THE CAT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS…you know, the one that all Tolkein fans seem to hate.

    Anyone else?

  16. Dionysis

    “This movie was fantastic.”

    I accept that, and definitely will check it out. What other titles would you recommend?

    Oh, and regarding Ken’s list of animated films he owns, I do have a few (mostly gifts I’ve received), such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Fantasia and one or two other titles. I do have to admit, however, that I’ve seen some Japanese anime that I liked. I guess if they’re ‘adult oriented’ I’m open to them.

  17. Dread P. Roberts

    some Miyazaki and the astonishing Paprika

    I don’t have a problem with animation, but I certainly have had reservations in the past towards Anime. Both Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” as well as “Howl’s Moving Castle” forced me to take a second look at Anime style animation. Those movies were masterful examples of how to use the genre. Then I saw Paprika on the big screen and I was blown away, both by the animation, the overall script/direction, and the sheer madness.

    Speaking of great animated films, what about “Persepolis”? I thought that was fantastic. I’m also very much wanting to see “Waltz With Bashir”.

  18. Ken Hanke

    I don’t have a problem with animation, but I certainly have had reservations in the past towards Anime.

    I still have reservations about anime, but that’s because it’s such a broad term. If you exempt early (at least in terms of export) Japanese animation like Alakazam the Great (a 1961 release that probably many of my generation saw), my original exposure wasn’t until such things as Pokemon and young people foisting things on me like Dragonball Z and Vampire Hunter D. I found this stuff pretty close to unwatchable in both content and animation quality. The stories (to the degree they existed) seemed childish and the animation somewhat worse than being trapped in Hannah-Barbera hell. It wasn’t until I saw some Miyazaki — and even more when I saw Paprika (which I was prepared to hate) — that I saw anything to admire. I still find the appeal limited, having dipped back into some of the more highly regarded titles like Tetsuo and found them very much not to my liking.

    Speaking of great animated films, what about “Persepolis”? I thought that was fantastic. I’m also very much wanting to see “Waltz With Bashir”.

    I liked Perspepolis, though not as much from an animation standpoint than just in general terms. I haven’t seen Bashir yet, though a screener landed on my desk only yesterday.

  19. Dread P. Roberts

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Ralph Bakshi is the animator to watch

    I’m not all that familiar with Bakshi’s work, but I will definitely check him out if he’s as good as you say he is. I’ve seen “Cool World” & “The Lord of the Rings” (by the way, I’m a quasi Tolkien fan, and I thought that this rendition was great. If nothing else, it deserves attention for it’s blend of animation & live action stylization). What would be your favorite Bakshi film that you would recommend?

  20. Ken Hanke

    Ken was soured on him when he watched AMERICAN POP (which I honestly think is his worst film). HEAVY TRAFFIC, WIZARDS, and yes, even COOL WORLD are different stories altogether.

    Didn’t care for Cool World either.

  21. tatuaje

    Seriously, this Real-D process is an advance on the polarized 3-D process, which is very different from the anaglyphic 3-D that uses the cardboard-frame 3-D glasses with the red and blue “lenses.”

    Cool…just did a little research on CNET about this. Thanks for the heads-up. I didn’t realize that 3D had changed so much.

    I’m wondering… from the article I read (http://news.cnet.com/3D-cinema-tech-taking-on-a-starring-role/2100-1026_3-6184318.html) it seems to me that instead of the old school red & blue glasses, the viewer just needs polarized glasses. I’ve got a nice pair of polarized sunglasses. Can I just bring these with me to the theater and forgo using whatever they hand out? That would help with the drawbacks that EM mentioned of sustainability and comfort….

  22. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Ralph Bakshi is the animator to watch for people (like me) who generally don’t like animation. Ken was soured on him when he watched AMERICAN POP (which I honestly think is his worst film). HEAVY TRAFFIC, WIZARDS, and yes, even COOL WORLD are different stories altogether. He is best known for FRITZ THE CAT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS…you know, the one that all Tolkein fans seem to hate.

    Anyone else?

    Besides HEAVY TRAFFIC, there’s not much Bakshi that I can recommend.

    PAPRIKA was made by Satoshi Kon, and besides Miyazaki, he is the best director working in the anime medium (which I generally loathe). His other films are PERFECT BLUE, TOKYO GODFATHERS and MILLENIUM ACTRESS. The movie length anime releases are generally the best with STEAMBOY, AKIRA, etc.

    I love stop motion. A little more obtuse is the work of The Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmejer. There’s also Wallace & Gromit.

  23. Dread P. Roberts

    Didn’t care for Cool World either.

    I have not seen “Cool World” since it originally first came out on video in the early 90′s, and I really don’t remember this movie, so I can’t form an accurate opinion as to whether or not I like(d) it.

  24. Dread P. Roberts

    I love stop motion. A little more obtuse is the work of The Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmejer. There’s also Wallace & Gromit.

    I fully agree. Wallace & Gromit is among my favorite cartoons that I can think of right now.

  25. Justin Souther

    I’ve got a nice pair of polarized sunglasses. Can I just bring these with me to the theater and forgo using whatever they hand out? That would help with the drawbacks that EM mentioned of sustainability and comfort….

    From what I understand, sunglasses will not work, though I guess you could give it a shot and see for yourself (I have no clue about the technical aspects).

    However, you’re still going to get charged the extra fee for the 3-D and you’re still going to get a free pair of glasses.

  26. Ken Hanke

    However, you’re still going to get charged the extra fee for the 3-D and you’re still going to get a free pair of glasses.

    Theoretically, it’s a special event charge meant to defray the expense of the equipment. In any case, there’d simply be no way for a cashier to ring up a ticket that didn’t reflect the charge — not in our computerized world.

  27. Sean Williams

    you know, the one that all Tolkein fans seem to hate.

    I just can’t get over the fact that the model for the Balrog is visibly wearing fuzzy slippers!

    Like everyone else on this planet, the ‘Sandman’ series is a favorite.

    I don’t know about that — I’ve resided on this planet for most of my adult life but find The Sandman largely insipid. It isn’t even sufficiently bad to attract my attention (except for that agonizingly precious Death miniseries with the P.S.A. about condoms). It’s sort of like Will Smith, whose appeal remains incomprehensible to me.

  28. Ken Hanke

    I just can’t get over the fact that the model for the Balrog is visibly wearing fuzzy slippers!

    Maybe his feet were cold, maybe.

  29. T_REX

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this film! For me it is right up there with Wall-E , maybe on the same level.
    The 3-d is just icing on the cake because the film is fantastic without it. My favorite part of the film is all the hard detail that went into it. Remember the scene where the “other parents” are walking Coraline home after she saw the show in Miss Spink / Miss Forcible’s place? They walk up the steps, open the main door, and far in the background is their reflection coming off the mirror. Wow! I know a film is great when, after it is over, I dont want to leave.

  30. Chris

    I’ve seen this one in both 2D and 3D, and the 3D was definitely worth both the extra cash and the much longer drive. (And considering that I live so far in the middle of nowhere that the drive is measured in hours, that’s saying something.) This is a prime example of 3D done right.

    Tatuaje: Your sunglasses won’t do the job. The key to the 3D process is that the lenses for the left and right eyes are differently polarized, so each eye gets a different image.

  31. Dread P. Roberts

    I just saw this yesterday evening, and I want to start off by agreeing with T_REX (amongst others). This movie was better that I expected, and I had gone in with high expectations based on what I had already heard.

    For the sake of possibly stirring up a bit of a commotion among Tim Burton loyalists (such as Ken), I just want to say that I think Selick might actually have got one up on Burton’s “Corpse Bride”. I wouldn’t really consider these two fims to be all that comparable (aside from on a technical aspect), but for the sake of argument, I’m going to say that I think this is a better all around movie. Don’t get me wrong, “Corpse Bride” is good, and I generally love Burton’s films, but Selick deserves an ovation for his efforts here. Then again, I couldn’t help of think of the fact that Burton is currently working on a new rendition of “Alice in Wonderland” that will also take place in claymation. That will probably be a more comparable movie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be better. We will see.

    The scene, in “Coraline”, when she first finds out that the cat can talk in the ‘other’ world seemed reminiscent of when Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland”. While on the subject, I should say that the movie that seemed (to me anyways) to best compare to “Coraline” was actually “Pans Labyrinth” (just the fantasy part). I found it a little weird that I kept seeing such strong fantasy similarities between these two films. I was not expecting that. They are both delightfully dark, brilliantly achieved, and I think it would be safe to say that if you enjoyed one, you would probably enjoy the other.

  32. Ken Hanke

    And considering that I live so far in the middle of nowhere that the drive is measured in hours, that’s saying something

    How many hours (or miles), if you don’t mind my asking? My curiosity is grounded in a suggestion Justin Souther made for a “Screening Room” on the topic of how far people have driven to go to a movie.

  33. Chris

    The closest theater of any kind is about an hour and a half away; the closest that has anything in 3D is more like 3 hours.

  34. Worthy of note is that CORALINE’S box office didn’t erode too much this past weekend, meaning that good word of mouth and repeat viewings are keeping it afloat. It might actually turn out to be a hit.

  35. Ken Hanke

    I just want to say that I think Selick might actually have got one up on Burton’s “Corpse Bride”. I wouldn’t really consider these two fims to be all that comparable (aside from on a technical aspect), but for the sake of argument, I’m going to say that I think this is a better all around movie.

    I think this is a more interesting — and striking — film than Corpse Bride, but I don’t think it’s as good — and for the very reservation I had in the review: I don’t like or care about the characters (possible exception of the cat).

    The scene, in “Coraline”, when she first finds out that the cat can talk in the ‘other’ world seemed reminiscent of when Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland”.

    Well, the whole parallel world is pretty Through the Looking Glass.

    They are both delightfully dark, brilliantly achieved, and I think it would be safe to say that if you enjoyed one, you would probably enjoy the other.

    I would agree — up to a point. That point being the same as my first reservation. Maybe it’s just me, but I find Pan’s Labyrinth an intensely emotional and I don’t find Coraline that way at all.

  36. Ken Hanke

    Worthy of note is that CORALINE’S box office didn’t erode too much this past weekend, meaning that good word of mouth and repeat viewings are keeping it afloat. It might actually turn out to be a hit.

    A 9 1/2% drop isn’t much (though Slumdog only dropped .4%), that’s for sure. If you work it out on a per theater basis, it actually comes in at no. 2 in the top 10. (Of course, its ticket price is a factor.)

  37. Sean Williams

    I don’t like or care about the characters

    Although I have not seen Coraline and do not intend ever to see Coraline at all barring direct instructions from God Almighty delivered on mimeograph paper in the mouth of a blind magpie and cosigned by Archangels Raguel, Michael, Uriel, and Gabriel…I will say that I generally react this way to Neil Gaiman characters.

    It have the distinct impression that Mr. Gaiman doesn’t like people and has never observed them closely enough to approximate even the crudest details of their behavior. But this ignorance never forestalls him from sententious commentary upon the human nature.

  38. Ken Hanke

    I will say that I generally react this way to Neil Gaiman characters.

    Not being terribly familiar with Gaiman, I have no idea how true this is. For counterpoint, however, I will note that I do like the characters in the film of Stardust, and it may or may not be worth noting that one of the more unsettling characters in Coraline is an addition of Henry Selick’s.

  39. T_REX

    “Although I have not seen Coraline and do not intend ever to see Coraline at all barring direct instructions from God Almighty delivered on mimeograph paper in the mouth of a blind magpie and cosigned by Archangels Raguel, Michael, Uriel, and Gabriel…I will say that I generally react this way to Neil Gaiman characters.”

    Why not? just curious

  40. Dread P. Roberts

    I don’t like or care about the characters.

    This is a worthy argument that I can agree with, but…for the sake of contention, I want to point out the super cool creaky old house, the garden, and (as you already mentioned) the like-ability of the cat. These are, of course, separate elements from character development, but I could stretch this by saying that the house sort of has a personality all of it’s own, and this ALMOST makes up for the shortcomings of the characters. This might be a bit much, but I love creepy old houses, so I stand by my somewhat whimsical viewpoint.

    I’ve only seen the film once, so my opinion may change upon multiple viewings.

  41. Ken Hanke

    This might be a bit much, but I love creepy old houses, so I stand by my somewhat whimsical viewpoint.

    Being a fan of creepy old houses myself, I can get on board with this. Then again, I’ve expressed nothing but admiration for the film’s creepiness from the onset.

  42. Dread P. Roberts

    My home was originally built in 1906. I just wish it had mysterious secret passageways…oh well.

  43. Sean Williams

    Why not? just curious

    I’ve just never seen in Neil Gaiman the heights of artistry that others claim to see. He’s not by any means a bad writer or even the worst to win the Eisner (Willingham I actively dislike). He’s just non-good to a degree that I find stultifying, and I find his commentary on humanity condescending and platitudinous.

  44. Ken Hanke

    My home was originally built in 1906. I just wish it had mysterious secret passageways…oh well.

    I don’t suppose you could engineer some now?

  45. Ken Hanke

    I’ve just never seen in Neil Gaiman the heights of artistry that others claim to see.

    I can’t help but wonder how much that very statement might have to do with it. I know that a great deal of my antipathy toward Star Trek and Star Wars has as much to do with the allegiance of the more ardent admirers as the material itself (though neither is my kind of thing to start with).

  46. Sean Williams

    I can’t help but wonder how much that very statement might have to do with it.

    I’m sure that’s part of it. Much of my hatred for Twilight results from the presumption of its fans that it represents the pinnacle of popular culture and that anyone who dislikes it didn’t read it thoroughly enough.

    Also, I only began reading Gaiman years after his most famous work, so I’d already formed an opinion of him from interviews. I don’t want to be judgmental or unfair, but Gaiman always seems pompous almost to the point of self-parody.

    I know that a great deal of my antipathy toward Star Trek and Star Wars has as much to do with the allegiance of the more ardent admirers as the material itself

    I’m slightly resistant to Star Trek myself because of its fans’ insistence that their series is more intelligent, more scientifically accurate, and more socially significant than Star Wars. I mean, yes, Star Wars is sillier than Star Trek, but neither one is exactly a paragon of intellectual depth!

  47. Dread P. Roberts

    I don’t suppose you could engineer some now?

    I probably could to a certain extent. Making a door to seemingly blend in with the wall would not be too daunting of a task. The problem I have is knowing when to stop. You see, I have a habit of becoming excessively elaborate with projects like this; to the point of overkill. For example: I would ideally want some sort of mechanized contraption with gears hidden in the walls. Then I would want an object like a bookshelf, where I could pull a random book and the shelf would automatically move giving way to my secret, torch-lit corridor. Maybe someday, perhaps after I have retired, I will pursue the means by which to create such a thing.

    I know that a great deal of my antipathy toward Star Trek and Star Wars has as much to do with the allegiance of the more ardent admirers as the material itself

    If one were so inclined to have an optimist outlook on this sort of thing, then perhaps the argument could be made that in the midst of such an annoyance there is a plus side. My point is that without the allegiance of Star Wars fan-boys, we would be lacking some of the comedic resonance of characters like “Jay and Silent Bob”. I love the scene – I believe it is in “Clerks 2″ – where they are arguing over how Star Wars fans are better and more important than Lord of the Rings fans.

  48. If one were so inclined to have an optimist outlook on this sort of thing, then perhaps the argument could be made that in the midst of such an annoyance there is a plus side. My point is that without the allegiance of Star Wars fan-boys, we would be lacking some of the comedic resonance of characters like “Jay and Silent Bob”. I love the scene – I believe it is in “Clerks 2” – where they are arguing over how Star Wars fans are better and more important than Lord of the Rings fans.

    Kevin Smith and his fanboys could be a completely different topic of discussion as well.

  49. Ken Hanke

    Also, I only began reading Gaiman years after his most famous work, so I’d already formed an opinion of him from interviews. I don’t want to be judgmental or unfair, but Gaiman always seems pompous almost to the point of self-parody.

    Bear in mind that I know very little about him or his work, so I’m merely speculating. I do know that the fervor with which certain people have tried to get me interested has been off-putting.

    I’m slightly resistant to Star Trek myself because of its fans’ insistence that their series is more intelligent, more scientifically accurate, and more socially significant than Star Wars. I mean, yes, Star Wars is sillier than Star Trek, but neither one is exactly a paragon of intellectual depth!

    That’s fair enough. One might rightly point out those silly, rubbery aliens playing faux-jazz in the bar in the first film, but it’s possible to counter that this isn’t especially more absurd than Tribbles or some of the rubber suited monsters in Star Trek. I’ve probably told you that Star Trek was ruined for me early on by the elder brother (by one year) of my best friend. He tried to act like Spock and was forever telling us that this or that was “illogical.” It wore thin fast.

  50. Ken Hanke

    You see, I have a habit of becoming excessively elaborate with projects like this

    Say no more. I do that with just about any project.

    My point is that without the allegiance of Star Wars fan-boys, we would be lacking some of the comedic resonance of characters like “Jay and Silent Bob”. I love the scene – I believe it is in “Clerks 2” – where they are arguing over how Star Wars fans are better and more important than Lord of the Rings fans.

    While I see your point, I’m not sure I wouldn’t be willing to make the trade. And I think Smith has milked this a bit much in general. I do find it interesting, though, that it’s another case of a fan doing the best parodying of something — like the Bridge-crazy Marx Bros. making fun of playing Bridge, or obvious Beatle-fan Neil Innes creating the best Beatle parody of all time with the Rutles.

  51. #3 at the box office this weekend and pushing the total over 50 million. Looks that this film is going to stick in there to be a hit.

  52. Ken Hanke

    #3 at the box office this weekend and pushing the total over 50 million. Looks that this film is going to stick in there to be a hit.

    I’m interestd to see what happens tomorrow. Why? Because there are only five Real-D 3D screens in the area — one at Epic of Hendersonville, one at Regal Biltmore Grande and three (two large houses and one medium-sized house) at the Carmike. Both Epic and Regal are advertising The Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Experience (don’t let’s all cheer at once) for this coming Friday. The Carmike is getting it, too. Hopefully, the Carmike booking office will hold one screen for Coraline, but with visions of that Hannah Montana 3D concert film’s turn out last year, I’ll be comfortable with saying Coraline will be here come Friday only after I see the listings. Of course, someone could book it in 2D, but that didn’t play so well originally.

  53. Ken Hanke

    Well — unless they change their minds tomorrow (it has happened, but it’s unlikely in this case) — Coraline will still be at the Carmike in 3-D come this Friday.

  54. Sean Williams

    (don’t let’s all cheer at once)

    Hey, you’d sing songs about abstinence, too, if you’d left home in your mother’s scarf.

  55. Ken Hanke

    And it appears the Epic in Hendersonville is going to give it a shot in 2-D.

  56. Ken Hanke

    And the Biltmore Grande is going to take on a 2-D print. So that’s two 2-D screens and one 3-D screen come Friday.

  57. Ken Hanke

    Hey, you’d sing songs about abstinence, too, if you’d left home in your mother’s scarf.

    I would gladly abstain from the Jonas Bros. if it was possible.

  58. little_nell

    i saw Caroline yesterday, we were the only 2 in the theater. we throughly enjoyed it! i will probably see it again. the 3D was so clean, not a lot of crap coming at you all the time.
    Speaking of Pan’s Labyrinth, it is in my top 10.

  59. Sydney Mulligan

    Wow, may I just say, Coraline looks like an absoloutley AMAZING film!I cannot wait till’ it comes out where I am!
    I am going to go see it :)

    Thanks for that, and I just wanted to know if Coraline is suitable for kids, this has definetley answered the question, as my 10 year old niece would like to go and see it, I think I’ll go see it with her actually ;)
    Thanks again, and I have just finished the book, absoloutley amazing, and honestley the 3-D version of the film makes it all more tempting!

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