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[personal profile] ishyface
Tonight Little Brother, Little Sister, and I went to see Coraline.

I read the book to them a couple of years ago, and it's really special to all of us. (Sibling bonding experiences make you overinvested to a truly ridiculous degree.) We were all set for the movie to be really disappointing, because we are born pessimists.

We were not wrong.

Visually it was pretty amazing- the 3D thing could have been a gimmick, but it worked really well with the art and overall feel of the film. It's creepy and crawly and made me jump in my seat a couple of times. They kept the storyline mostly intact, except for the last fifteen minutes or so, and those last fifteen minutes ruined it for us.

In the book Coraline is a smart, brave kid whose biggest problem is being bored out of her skull. She discovers a wall in her living room that leads to another world where she meets her "other mother," who has kidnapped her real parents and plans to eat her. She figures things out on her own, makes a plan to trick the other mother and escapes, and then figures out how to make sure she can never hurt another kid again by dropping her disembodied hand and the key down a well.

In the movie Coraline is kind of whiny and bratty. She doesn't travel from one world to the next of her own volition, but gets transported there in a dream. That bothered me a little because it kind of took away her agency, but it was nothing compared to the ending.

See, the movie introduces us to a character named Wybie, a boy around Coraline's age who follows her around. (She refers to him as a stalker a couple of times.) He's kind of a pointless character and spends most of the movie being annoying and providing exposition that could easily have been supplied by someone else. But whatever. I figured they didn't want to make a movie where the main character spends most of her time talking to herself (although hello girlfriend had a talking motherfucking cat to play with), so I went with it.

Towards the end Coraline is trying to figure out how to get rid of the key to the other mother's apartment before the other mother's hand can steal it. In the book she tricks it by putting a tablecloth over the open well and staging a tea party, then placing the key in the center; the hand races over to grab for the key and ends up falling down the well instead. In the movie Coraline leaves the house and walks toward the well, but it's clear she has no idea what to do. The hand attacks her, trying to grab the key and drag her back to the house.

Guess who saves her? Wybie.

Guess who decides to throw the key down the well? Wybie.

Guess who says "I'm glad you were my stalker"? Coraline.

What the actual fuck.

Part of the reason why I loved the book so much was because Coraline was such a cool little kid. She thought for herself and acted for herself and ultimately saved herself, because nobody believed that the other mother even existed. The movie robs her of that. She ends up being just another fucking damsel in distress, another girl who isn't smart enough to figure shit out and needs to be saved by some dude. Which is an awesome message to send to little girls, right?

Those last fifteen minutes left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was totally unnecessary to have Wybie there in the first place, but to make him the fucking hero? FUCK. THAT. Take your zany claymation wonderland and shove it, motherfuckers, because it was a waste of fucking popcorn.

In conclusion: Coraline (book) is about feminism, and Coraline (movie) is not.

on 2009-02-08 01:55 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] opalgirl28.livejournal.com
What the FUCK?

That movie looked *so* awesome from the trailer - the art style so meshed with the feel of the book.

Damsel in distress? Coraline?

WHAT THE FUCK?

*disappointed*

on 2009-02-08 04:12 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
The art style is pretty nifty- the scenes toward the end where the other mother gets less and less human are really cool. It's just... why? Did they have to do that? Argh.

on 2009-02-08 01:59 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] clawxco.livejournal.com
wow that sounds pretty gaytarded.

on 2009-02-08 04:12 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
It pissed me off a little, as you may have guessed!

on 2009-02-08 04:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] clawxco.livejournal.com
only a [i]little[/i]??

on 2009-02-08 04:20 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] clawxco.livejournal.com
consarnit.

on 2009-02-08 04:27 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
lol fail at internet

on 2009-02-08 04:31 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] clawxco.livejournal.com
yeah its pretty bad. i've been using the internet since 1997 and i still fail pretty bad at it.

on 2009-02-08 04:33 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
GO TO BED IT IS ONE IN THE MORNING

on 2009-02-08 04:35 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] clawxco.livejournal.com
sleep is for the weak.

on 2009-02-08 03:03 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] forcedmovement.livejournal.com
Fuck. That. Shit. Guess who has two thumbs and is not seeing Coraline the movie? THIS GIRL.

on 2009-02-08 03:09 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] opalgirl28.livejournal.com
Me neither. Which is a shame, because I *adore* 'Mirrormask.'

The hell did they have to put in someone to rescue Coraline for?

Screw this, bring on the Watchmen! (If that's epic fail too, I can rant about it. Yay.)

on 2009-02-08 04:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Mirrormask is rather lovely. I wish it had had a bigger budget, because it looks kind of unpolished as it is, but that's really part of its charm.

WATCHMENNNNNN. (I am nervous about it, because Zack Snyder directed 300 and, um, I really really hate that movie. But apparently Alan Moore thought the script was pretty okay so I am determined to stay optimistic!)

on 2009-02-08 04:15 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
It might not be as bad as I think it is- [livejournal.com profile] luinmir has a different take on it downthread- but. But it makes me so mad. :(

on 2009-02-08 03:40 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] crazykawaii.livejournal.com
???? BOO. I was really excited to see this and... now I don't want to anymore :(

on 2009-02-08 04:33 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
There are still things about it worth seeing! Such as: it is pretty.

(but it makes me angry raaaaar)

on 2009-02-08 04:09 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] luinmir.livejournal.com
Honestly? I really didn't get that impression at all. I agree that the movie did take away some of the quiet strength that made the character so appealing in the book, but I didn't feel like the character of Wybie was so much a rescuing force as friendly support. I wish they'd kept in her solution, but I don't really think that it reduced her to a damsel in distress.

on 2009-02-08 04:32 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Thing is, though, what made Coraline so appealing for me was that she didn't have that friendly support. When I first read the book what struck me about it was how alone she seemed to be and how she made up for that in other ways- playing pretend, exploring by herself and talking to adults instead of other kids, being strong and brave. The fact that no one else knew how much danger she was in made the story more powerful. Wybie being there at all bothered me because he didn't have much of a function- other than to facilitate the doll subplot, which was delightfully creepy but didn't really go anywhere- and his interactions with Coraline felt forced. That quiet strength she has in the book partially comes from the fact that she has no one to talk to; he takes away from that.

I'm not saying that she can't have friends, or that her interacting with other kids makes her weak, but the original ending had meaning. It showed that she came out of the experience smarter, braver, and more resourceful. The movie's ending doesn't show us much of anything, other than... um, it's good to be friends with people who wear interesting headgear?

I don't know. I just really wanted the Coraline in the movie to be as active as the Coraline in the book, because that was a big part of what made me love her. No one else was going to save her so she saved herself.

on 2009-02-08 06:25 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ladydreamer.livejournal.com
Oh, WOW. What a huge disappointment. FROWNIE FACE!! I wanted to go see this one. Sigh.

on 2009-02-08 03:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
It was doing pretty good up 'til then, too. >:(

on 2009-02-08 02:08 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] danceinacircle.livejournal.com
Dang it. I was planning on going to see that today, but ever since Stuart Little: The Movie absolutely destroyed a book I cherished, I try to avoid movies that I think might do the same. :(

on 2009-02-08 03:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
Oh, man, the Stuart Little movie was awful. I loved that book when I was a kid (even though I hated the ending), and they totally screwed it up. :(

on 2009-02-08 04:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] danceinacircle.livejournal.com
Seriously...the only thing the book had in common with the movie was the name "Stuart Little". 100% different, otherwise.

on 2009-02-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] immelmanturn.livejournal.com
I'll agree that the tacked-on character and the way it turned out was a disappointment, but I'm probably still going to see it. Sometimes I just want to take off the analyst goggles and enjoy a pretty story.

on 2009-02-08 08:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] youidiotkid.livejournal.com
boo :[
i don't even want to see it now.
illegal downloadage, maybe.

on 2009-03-13 03:10 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] minaloush.livejournal.com
hey, on an aside, you know what movie was ridiculously antifeminist and antifat and painful to watch when it was just supposed to be full of mousy cuteness? Fuckin' Tale of Desperaux.

on 2009-03-13 03:31 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ishyface.livejournal.com
I never saw it- what happened?

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