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Entries in Coraline (3)

Wednesday
Feb062019

10th Anniversary: Laika's "Coraline"

by Timothy Brayton

Coraline, which opened in theaters ten years ago today, was groundbreaking in all sorts of ways. It was the first feature made by Laika, soon to become a cultishly loved, critically praised animation studio with an Oscar nomination for every one of its four films (a fifth, Missing Link, is set to open in April). It was one of the first films in the most recent 3D fad to demonstrate a real sense of the emotional and narrative possibilities of using stereoscopic effects, and it was only rarely equaled in the years following. It represents an extraordinary leap into a brand new mixed-media animation style that I refrain from calling "revolutionary" only because nobody else but Laika seems to be interested in experimenting with it.

The truly special thing about Coraline is not that it achieved any of these things. Plenty of films invent new stuff. What's special – downright miraculous, even – is that Coraline feels just as fresh and bold in 2019 as it did in 2009...

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Monday
Feb232015

Beauty vs Beast: Break On Through To The Other Mother

JA from MNPP here, with our Oscar Hangover edition of "Beauty vs Beast." I actually intended for this week's edition to have nothing to do with the Oscars at all, but I can't help trace its footsteps back to this year's Awards in a sorta roundabout way... our starting point is Dakota Fanning, who is turning 21 years old today. Yes that preternaturally wise moppet can now legally do tequila shots at her local dive, what a world, what a world. Happy birthday, Dakota!

So five years ago Dakota voiced the lead role in Coraline, Laika's very fine adaptation of Neil Gaiman's terrifying book, about a little girl who wanders through a strange little door in her new home only to find a world funhouse-mirroring her own on the other side. And it's there that she meets...

 

The connection to this year's Academy Awards is of course the beloved production house Laika - Coraline was its first feature (to lose the Best Animated Feature Oscar), ParaNorman its second (to lose the Best Animated Feature Oscar), and The Boxtrolls its third, which yes, lost the Best Animated Feature Oscar last night to the, in my opinion, desperately inferior Big Hero 6. As indifferent to downright-hostile as I was towards many of the wins last night, this one smacks me as one of the most egregious, and one that the test of time will look upon very poorly. It reeks! Of bad cheese! Justice For Laika!

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Tim's Toons: Why Laika is the most exciting animation studio right now

Tim here, wondering if the time has come to start saying very hyperbolic things. This weekend sees the release of The Boxtrolls, the third feature released by the animation studio Laika, also responsible for 2009’s Coraline and 2012’s ParaNorman. I find myself, almost certainly to my eventual disappointment, wondering if this trio of technically audacious and unusually sophisticated stop-motion films has put the studio in line to fill the hole left when Pixar stopped being the most reliable movie-creating force in America, and instead became that place which makes pretty solid cartoons when they can be bothered to stop focusing on Cars pictures.

It’s begging the question from the get-go: there wasn’t a Pixar before Pixar, so there’s no clear reason that there has to be another one now. But Laika’s work so far has been at a level that encourages such dangerous optimism.

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