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Coraline, Reald And The Reemergence Of 3 D: Technological Obsession And A Reassurance Of Identity

3226 words - 13 pages

Coraline, RealD and the Reemergence of 3-D:
Technological Obsession and a Reassurance of Identity

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Coraline the film is adapted from the Neil Gaiman novel, Coraline, published in 2002 (Clark). According to New York Times film critic, John Clark, Henry Selick was first introduced to Gaiman’s novel in 2000, two years before it was published (Clark). In an interview conducted by Alex Bilington, Selick says that he found an instant connection with both the novel and Gaiman: “I’d found a true collaborator, a lost brother in Neil . . . By the time I was halfway through the book, I could see a movie” (Bilington). Selick went on to write the screenplay, and after some initial adaptation struggles, Selick wrote a comfortably adapted screenplay that features some rather significant changes from the novel (Bilington). Selick even recognizes the significance of his changes, as he says in the interview, “I made some fairly big changes” (Bilington). Most notably Selick changed the setting of the novel from Europe to the United States and introduced a new character named Wybie (Bilington). According to Selick the creation of Wybie was “[meant] to give Coraline someone to kind of go up against, directly” (Bilington). These were two very large adaptation from the novel, yet they were essential to the story’s success as a film as well as its thematic message. The introduction of Wybie and United States setting are both integral components of the Coraline’s larger analytical meaning, but we will get to that later. Before we drive into our analysis of Coraline as a film, it is crucial to understand some of the history and controversy surrounding 3-D technologies.
3-D technology first appeared in mainstream commercial cinema during the 1950s as Hollywood experimented with new technical gimmicks in order to improve movie attendance after the increasing popularity of television (Benson-Allot Feb. 2009). In Lauren Rabinovitz’s book Memory Bites, she recalls the introduction of 3-D in Hollywood cinema: “Experiments in 3-D, their cyborgian implication in bespectacled audiences, and their shock effects of objects “coming at you” fore-grounded bodily orientation of the screen and identification” (101). Rabinovitz is alluding to the most important factor that the utilization of 3-D creates in its audience. The use of 3-D in the cinema often tries to redefine what is considered cinematic and compel the viewer to question their “bodily orientation”. As Rabinovitz points out 3-D films were initially concerned with “coming [out] at you”, it was meant to provide a somewhat shocking spectacle but generally just disoriented the viewer. 3-D naturally creates an unsettling reactive effect for the viewer. Simply put, audience members are not sure where their position in the audience precisely lies in relation to what’s on screen. Rabinovitz discusses that this trend began with simulation rides, that attempted to move towards providing a more “embodied subjectivity” for the viewer. (121). Rabinovitz writes, “Tourist cinema makes vision coherent by...

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