Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.



Coraline is based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. The movie theatre I saw it in was only 2-D, not 3-D; I'm hoping to be able to watch and enjoy the 3-D version.

The movie is animated stop action, and it's a thing of beauty. Great colors, wonderful scenery, it's just an amazing work of art. The OtherMother is deliciously creepy, especially when she's imitating a child's version of what a Perfect Mother would be.

I'm usually quite easy about books that have been turned into movies. No, really. I understand that what works well in a book doesn't work well in a movie; and that to tell a story visually requires change. I also understand the need to cut (or expand) a story to make it fit a movie format.

That said, ultimately, I was disappointed by how the story was adapted into film.

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

The movie introduced a friend for Coraline called Wybie; and while this lessened Coraline's isolation (an important part of the book), it did give Coraline someone to talk to and interact with. The book has long stretches where it is just Coraline and her thoughts; having a person there, instead of just Coraline, makes sense. So I understand why Wybie was added.

What doesn't make sense is that Coraline, while spunky, is dumbed down. And part of that dumbing down shows at the end, when Wybie (the boy) rescues Coraline. Coraline's well-plotted defeat of Other Mother gets turned into a spur of the moment event that requires The Boy to help save the day.

OtherMother and her OtherWorld are wonderfully realized; but it's exaggerated a bit too much, such as putting the retired actresses (Miss Spink and Miss Forcible) into stripperesque costumes.

This is a don't-miss visual experience; but in terms of story-telling, the book remains far superior and has a much more appealing Coraline.

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  • At 7:40 PM, Blogger Eden said…

    Wybie was unnecessary and I agree that the ending was disappointing, but it didn't destroy the movie for me. I did notice that they wanted to make sure we knew Coraline had friends, with the photo of her friends in Michigan. I don't remember feeling like she was friendless in the book, but like you said, her isolation was important.

    I dearly love the book, and I tended to react badly to any information about the movie when it was in production. But I got to a point where I could see the two as separate works. The movie is a visual delight and I think it captures the essence of the book pretty well. I gladly recommend it to anyone.

    But given the choice, I'm going to pick the book.


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