Friday, February 13, 2009

Coraline in 3-D at the Ziegfeld

A Motion Picture Breakthrough!

If you have any interest in spooky children's stories, see the movie Coraline in 3-D, preferably at the Ziegfeld or a comparable movie palace. I enjoyed it immensely last night and found it hard to believe that such a wondrous experience wasn't attracting more of an audience.

Inspired by the book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline tells the tale of a girl who is tempted to disappear into a bizarre but seemingly much happier alternate existence. The story is full of whimsy and plot twists, and the production is both highly imaginative and, I think, a breakthrough in 3-D feature filmmaking.

I've seen many 3-D movies but I don't recall ever seeing one utilize the effects as creatively as Coraline. The basic technology has been around for decades, but too often the prevailing aesthetic was to avoid "too much" 3-D gimmickry because it would be distracting and wearying. (That especially seems to have been the case with big mainstream releases such as Kiss Me, Kate and Dial M for Murder, which are restrained to the point that there's hardly any reason to seek them out in 3-D. Give me House of Wax and Gorilla at Large and 3-D Three Stooges any day!) But Coraline offers a multitude of fascinating 3-D effects that succeed brilliantly in drawing the viewer into the fantasy. At times they were like lenticular images in children's books, except that they seemed to have found a better home in the motion picture medium. It is kind of amazing to realize just how long it has taken for this step to occur.

I'm rhapsodizing over the technical aspect of this film, but I wouldn't be as excited as I am about Coraline if the technique and the substance of the movie hadn't been as beautifully wedded as they are. Kudos to Henry Selick for making film history with this one. See it in 3-D if you can—and stay for all the credits.

See the trailer if you'd like, but you can heighten the surprise quotient by going straight to the movie.

Source (2:26)

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