The next animated feature into the marketplace is Coraline, out next Friday. Director Henry Selick holds forth about the project:
... [T]he tone of it is different than what's been made by Pixar and DreamWorks, certainly. But it's not really so different from the first features that Walt Disney did. Snow White, where a queen wants the heart of a young girl delivered to her in a box. . . . Pinocchio sees his best friend turned into an animal, and it could happen to him. . . . Fantasia, Night on Bald Mountain, or even The Sorcerer's Apprentice. . . .
"We have a very long tradition of like Grimm's fairy tales, or cautionary tales, that our tribal elders were telling around the campfire, and saying, 'Don't go out in the woods, you're going to get eaten.' And eventually someone was better at telling those stories than someone else, and they were the tales that lived on. They're cautionary fairy tales, life lessons.
"We're still in tune with that, we just haven't made those sort of animated films in this country since the early Disney, but there is a tradition. We're just reviving that."
When I first met Henry S., he was working at the Mouse House, sharing a room with another future director named Bill Kroyer.
Henry was a passionate guy then, and he seems to be a passionate guy now. Coraline is Portland-based Laika's first animated feature out of the starting blocks, and obviously there's a lot riding on it.
If Mr. Selick's picture makes a splash, then Laika gains credibility and market traction, at least in the near term. And it's always nice to have another player in the animation business, especially during these times of woe.
So here's hoping for some box office skyrockets.
(Coraline's author Neil Gaiman talks about his creation here.)