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Headshot of me with long hair, pink lip stick, light makeup Kara Babcock

Small break in the madness

My reading week has suddenly left me swamped with things I'm normally doing but don't feel like doing right now, things I don't normally do and don't feel like doing right now, and things I wish I normally did and wanted to do this week but can't do right now. Still, I managed to go see Coraline last night, and I've managed to find some time right now to write a short blog post with my reflections.

Let me get this off my chest first: I have never watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. I'll pause for a moment to let you gasp.

As such, this is my first experience with the work of Henry Selick, and indeed, my first mature experience with stop motion animation. I don't watch Robot Chicken (more gasps); I've never seen any Wallace and Gromit; and I was too young to appreciate Chicken Run.

The production quality on Coraline is amazing; indeed, if you didn't know it was stop motion, you could mistake it for CGI. The amount of artistry and craftsmanship required for such a production boggles my mind. The doll for Coraline had numerous different faces that could be switched out as required to create any expression they wanted. Someone knitted the tiny outfits for the puppets! There's something so romantic about stop motion animation; it is truly a labour of love. And while there's nothing wrong with CGI--what we can do with computers is amazing--I'm glad to see that some people are keeping the older art forms alive.

Henry Selick's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel is brilliant, although not as amazing as the production itself. The movie doesn't patronize children: it is scary and intense, but its theme is powerful and deep. It uses fear to fright and delight--younger children might not enjoy some aspects, but older children will definitely enjoy the combination of adventure and fear. I have to confess that it won't earn a spot in my list of favourite movies. However, if you haven't already seen it, you should certainly check it out.