Sunday, February 01, 2009

Henry Speaks

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.)


Floyd Norman said...

Bravo! Henry.

If any animated film deserves to be a hit -- this is it.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately they were not financially able to hold on to their teams. I'm sure if the picture is a hit they will try and bring them back to Portland.

Anonymous said...

Well, just heard an interview with Norman Jewison, who says that during recessions, movie box office actually does better, historically.

His argument was that it (theater tix) was less expensive than other options out there.

Besides that, "Coraline" looks like a great film in it's own right. At least what we can see from the trailers...

Nike's CEO can't afford to keep the animators on? hmmm...doubtful.


Anonymous said...

Nothing doubtful about it. They're laying people off as they finish their part of the film, and almost no one up there is doing any work on any possible future films. If they make another feature, they will indeed be starting virtually from scratch in terms of getting a competent crew.

Anonymous said...

knowing phil knight he'll just have his slave labour children who make his shoes do the next film.

Did he lay his son off...?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Jewison's explanation holds water anymore. In previous bad recessions, and the Great Depression, there really weren't much cheaper entertainment alternatives.

But today, taking a family to see a movie will set you back at least $45 just on tickets alone. There are much cheaper alternatives today, from renting a movie, to computer gaming.

Then again, movies seem to still be doing ok, so we'll see how the coming year stacks up. I assume that if there is a movie people really want to see, they'll see it regardless of ticket price.

Anonymous said...

Technically interesting but definitely does not feel like a family event.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I don't think the heartland is going to show up in droves. Whatever the film's merits, I don't think it's going to make money.

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