Coraline (2009) movie poster

(2009) dir. Henry Selick
viewed: 02/28/09 at UA Berkeley 7, Berkeley, CA

The last time that I went to see a film twice in the theaters was Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away (2001).  It seems apt, really, that the next time I do such a thing should be for the best animated feature that has come out since then, Coraline.

The beauty of the animation, the visual fantasy, the lyrical fairy tale so wonderfully realized, all of it has stuck with me and I have been eager to see it again before it left the cinema.  This time there were no 3-D glasses and the projection wasn’t as sharp as it had been previously at the Metreon.  I think the 3-D was really unnecessary, a frill just not needed to enjoy the ornate beauty of the animation and the dark parable at the heart of the film.

This time around, the music struck me considerably.  The simple melodies confer a tone to the film that really resonated for me, echoing of perhaps other children’s films from the 1970’s or something, tones of light-hearted melancholy, something so befitting of the film and setting the sense of the character.  The music is credited to Bruno Calais and features a French female vocals amid strings, piano.  It’s lovely stuff.

On second viewing, the film is, in my opinion, perhaps better than anything produced at Pixar, including the wonderful Ratatouille (2007).  To me, it speaks of a true aspect of childhood, of the darkness of the world, and of the richness of fantasy.  The design and actual execution of the animation is fantastic, rich, and brilliant.  Films this amazing do not arise very often.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And though I’ve been realizing of late how much a matter of taste and opinion such things are, I still recommend it to be seen by everyone.

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