What’s this? I’m finally doing a review on another Neil Gaiman book? Well, yes. This time it’s that weird “fairy tale” (the book’s words, not mine) Coraline.
The story is about a young girl who just moved into a big house that was converted into a bunch of flats (that’s apartments to us Americans.) She is bored out of her mind because no matter what she asks her to do with her they are always busy. So she just goes out exploring by herself. While exploring she finds a door in her flat, that’s been boarded up. One she decides to disobey her mother and reopen this door which leads to another world where everything she wants is possible. That changes when her parents go missing and now she has to save them.
This is a nice little kid’s tale that does serve a valuable lesson. It can be said that lesson is no matter how much you think your life sucks you may not like it as much if everything was given to you. There are things that you will not like.
One intriguing thing about this story is the mystical elements. On the other side of the door, there are people with buttons for eyes. Why buttons? Well, it can be said that they have buttons because this world is supposed to be made by someone. One thing that does have buttons for eyes is dolls.
Or it can be Gaiman being creepy.
Coraline is also an interesting character. She may be a little girl, but she forces herself to be brave. She also has a ton of ingenuity as seen how she was able to make the Other Mother agree to allow her to find the souls of the three ghost children. Even how she defeats her is ingenious.
One complaint about the book is that the writing can come off as too basic. This may be a kid’s book, but that doesn’t mean the writing has to suffer.
The graphic novel is scene by scene of the novel which is awesome. The art by P. Craig Russell is top notch. The creepy scenes do look creepy, the character designs look great and the backgrounds perfectly fit the mood of the story.
Now for the movie. What’s there to say except it’s Tim Burton. It has his creepy, gothic style which is a bit of a turn off in some ways. The book may have some horror elements, but it’s supposed to look like real life. Eh, it’s Tim Burton. The movie does adapt the book pretty well so that’s a plus.
Ask anyone what the worst thing about the movie is and they’ll say “Wybie.” This is a character that did not appear in the book at all. His is annoying, uninteresting and is only there to save Coraline at the end. Yes, instead of Coraline using her wit to beat the Other Mother she “messes up” and Wybie comes and saves her. To quote every Gaiman fan, “bullshit.”
In all, Coraline is a great story with some great imagination. The graphic novel is also worth a read and the movie is OK despite a bullshit new character.