Coraline & the secret door

The worlds of Coraline are Neil Gaiman’s worlds. A friend who goes home would say that he’s the best sci-fi and fantasy author in recent times. Anyway, Gaiman’s, or Coraline’s worlds, aren’t ones where one would like to be.

Coraline’s (not Caroline’s) real world is as grey as a school uniform, windows have leaks, there are chards for dinner, her neighbour is a lost circus actor, her best friend is an intolerable talkative boy and her parents pay her the same attention than they would pay to a chair. On the other hand, the fantasy world of Coraline, that one she enters through the secret door is… well, fantastic. Surprisingly close to the real one, but disturbingly sinister at the same time. The magical garden is colourful, there’s chicken and cake for dinner, the nextdoor circus would pale the Cirque du Soleil and, what is more important: to her parent’s eyes, Coraline is queen in her home. It seems a minor detail that the talkative boy has lost his voice. And to sew bottons on the eyes is a small sacrifice in exchange for complete happiness. Others made the deal before, didn’t you, ghost children? If it wasn’t for that cat who talks and those colour stripped gloves…

Coraline & the secret door is a fantasy story Gaiman wrote for his daughters, a new vision of Hansel and Gretel tale which Henry Selick (director of Nightmare before Christmas) has turned into a brilliant stop motion animated feature film, combining fantasy, adventures and horror at equal. Those elements are well contributed by Bruno Coulais experimental music.

The matter behind everything seems to be: be careful about what you wish for… Although it could also be: there’s a reason for secret doors to be secret. And Neil Gaiman’s worlds, or Coraline’s, are ones where one wouldn’t like to be. After all, Gaiman is author of The Sandman, the one who brings dreams, and Sandman’s older daughter is a pale dark haired girl called Death…



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