coraline, two ways

I’m no cook, but I am a loyal fan of Bravo’s Top Chef.  A common exercise for the Top Chef contestants is to take one primary material and cook it in two or three different ways.  They might produce a duo of beef, or a trio of lamb.  If done well, the chef has shown how he or she can take one source and create multiple enjoyable experiences with it. 

This weekend, I feasted on a duo of Coraline.  I experienced this story, of a girl who discovers a tempting, seemingly-idyllic parallel world but must resist the dark force trying to hold her there, both as a book and as a film.  And both were successful creations, although in different ways. 

The book is tightly written, with a heroine who is obviously bright and brave, but unforgettably a young girl with all the normal frustrations of a child.  The story moves quickly with constant suspense, and although Coraline receives some help at key moments, her own logic and creativity are her greatest tools.

The film is simply beautiful.  The visual world created by the filmmakers through stop-motion animation is absolutely astounding.  The story is adapted for a movie’s length, which in this case means scenes are added, as are characters.  But these additions work well, because they give the viewer more interaction with the magical world at hand.  The movie’s Coraline is not quite as quick on the uptake as the book version and finds herself with a little more assistance, but is nevertheless a child of brains and daring.

I’d recommend both — or either.  Though there are many, many movies based on books that I think are merely poor imitations of their source material, both Coraline the book and Coraline the movie are excellent examples of the art of storytelling.  So in spite of my longstanding “read-the-book-first” rule, I hereby give my blessing for going directly to the movie on this one, especially since it’s one particularly worthwhile on the big screen. 

But pick up the book later — it’s certainly worth your time.


~ by Molly on February 16, 2009.

2 Responses to “coraline, two ways”

  1. Did you see it 3-D?

    • Yes, which was cool, because it definitely gave you more of a sense of being within that world. But it wasn’t a drastic thing — there were only a few scenes where things seemed touchable. And I almost wondered if the 3D glasses actually muted the colors in some places. It was fun, though — I can’t remember the last 3D movie I went to.

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