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Coraline and the Other Cake

Adjani Gama Dessavre

It’s a book, it’s a movie, it’s a great animation, and it’s a piece of perfection! I am talking about Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Coraline is a story I genuinely love in so many levels.

I’ve heard Neil Gaiman (in his masterclass) talk about the importance of being truthful when you create a story, of leaving a piece of you in it. And that is what I find most extraordinary about Coraline; you can find truth in it, it is so genuine and real, and at the same time, it is full of fantasy and unimaginable worlds.

If you haven’t read it or watched it, the story is about a girl that just moved into a new house. She finds a secret door that takes her to what seems like a parallel world where her sweet other mother lives. But is the other mother all that loving and kind? With button eyes, this story soon transforms into a scary one where you have to face your fears and find your courage.

Both the movie and the book are fantastic. However, they do have some difference. In the movie, there is a character that does not exist in the book. Also, the endings are slightly different (I prefer the book’s one, but I’ll leave that for another this piece of cake). Some little details, some no so little details, however, both are great, and I recommend you watching the movie and reading the book. In the book, you can seriously immerse in the story and maybe even find your fears in those pages. In the movie, you can enjoy the designs, music, and beautiful visuals.

If you ask me, I prefer the book a little bit more (just a tad) because it goes deeper into the world and psychology of the characters. I am planning on rereading it this year, so I’ll write about it when I do. Sometimes, when I prefer a book I find its movie to be meh, but for Coraline this is not the case, because I also think the film is amazing. Whether you read it or watch it, put attention on the cat. It is one of my favourite characters.

Meow

The movie is full of fantastic animation details. It is a stop motion animation directed by nonetheless than Henry Selick. If that name rings a bell, it is because he is the director of Tim Burton’s a Nightmare before Christmas. Therefore, you can imagine that colour selection, characters design and world creation is perfect for a kids horror fantasy story.

One of the things I love is the whole design of the other mother. All sweet and creepy with her button eyes, yet also like a spider luring you to her web. And when she transforms, well, she is scary. I recommend you watch the next video. It is an interview between Neil Gaiman (the author of the story), and Teri Hatcher (the actress that voiced the other mother).

For such a perfect creation, you would imagine everyone would want to publish it and create the movie. However, that was not the case. Neil Gaiman started writing it when his first daughter was around four years old, and his publisher at the time told him it was not publishable. So he began to write it only in his free time. The thing is, when he arrived to America, he stopped having free time, and it was when his younger daughter was around four years old that he decided it was time to finish the book.

As what I love the most about the story, I would say it is its perfect sense of what is frightening to a child. Unknown scary monsters combined with someone trying to replace your parents. The dark halls in the night, little creatures that are lurking around under your bed. Yet it also shows the curiosity and imagination of a child, and more importantly it shows you can find the courage needed when you are frightened and unsure of what to do. The strength is inside of all of us. We can fight our monsters, even if you are a little girl in a new house, or the young adult typing these letters, or the person reading these words…

Featured image from: https://www.laika.com/our-films/coraline

One reply on “Coraline and the Other Cake”

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