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Published:August 30th, 2009 15:00 EST
Neil Gaiman and Coraline

Neil Gaiman and Coraline

By Tony Graff

Neil Gaiman, author of the Graveyard Book, and Stardust, wrote a story about a girl who finds everything she wants on the other side of a door. Coraline, the heroine after which the book is named, finds parents who are more than happy to focus their lives on her, and making her happy. Her real world life, where she recently moved into a new apartment with her parents, is anything but happy. Her parents are too busy, their work so engrossing, that they frequently tell Coraline to go do something else, they are busy. 


The new world she discovered behind a small painted-over door is inviting. The "other parents" play games, cook only the food she likes, and even the neighbors, foreign as they may be, are bending over backwards for Coraline. Especially her "other mother," who invites Coraline to stay on her side of the door. The only formality of staying on that side, where everything is fun, is the sewing of button eyes over her own. This Coraline refuses to do, and the other mother becomes a monster bent on keeping Coraline there in her world, to love and care for forever. 


Her real parents disappear when she reaches the other side, and Coraline must go back to the other side and get her parents back and stop the monster once and for all. 


Having enjoyed the book a lot, I figured the movie would be at least worth renting from a local RedBox dispenser. With the knowledge that books are rarely up to par when translated to the medium of cinematography, I wasn`t expecting much. 


Unfortunately, my low expectations were still dashed. The only redeeming point of the movie is the fact that Tim Burton used stop-motion animation to create it. I have respect for that, but little else. Many of the great moments in the book were lost in the movie, new characters were added, and too much back-story was invented for the sake of the movie. Tim Burton`s portrayal of some of the existing characters wasn`t tasteful, and scenes that were created solely for the movie were lacking in quality. 


Now, I am not a Tim Burton hater. Some of his work is actually pretty good. His tragedy in Coraline, and the trailers I have seen of the movie Alice in Wonderland shows a waning sense of quality. Though there looks to be some promise with the movie 9, I don`t plan on getting my hopes up on any Tim Burton work. Coraline`s story is great in book form, but steer clear of the movie.