So, when I saw that The Times were offering free tickets to preview showings this weekend, I rushed to get one. After all, free tickets, and a chance to see the film nearly 2 weeks before it comes out – what’s not to like?
The tickets were obviously popular – when I got mine, on Tuesday, there were only about 30 left for the showing in Bristol (bearing in mind that the details were twittered, but weren’t actually advertised in the paper until Saturday), and some screens were already booked out at that point. The showing was at 10.30 on Sunday morning, which meant getting up a little earlier that I normally do on a Sunday, as the cinema is just over an hour’s drive away.
The screening was very nearly full, and there seemed to be a very high concentration of young children – I would guess that about ¼ of the audience was under 8, which suggests to me that a lot of people had seen trailers or ads and liked the look of the film, rather than necessarily because they are hard-core Neil Gaiman fans. (The cinema is part of the Cribbs Causeway shopping complex, and there also seemed to be a high concentration of dads-with-children - eavesdropping suggested that a lot of mothers had taken the opportunity to go shopping, instead…
The high number of children also meant that there was a lot of noise and chatter before the film began, as one would expect when high concentrations of small excitable children are fed high concentrations of sugar and caffeine and food colouring.
It was great to see how quickly they settled and were drawn in to the film when it started, however, with even those seeming to have the shortest attention span completely mesmerised. The mouse-circus was particularly popular and got lots of laughter and ‘ooohs’, as did Misses Spink & Forcible, on both sides of the Door, and the Scottie dogs.
I really enjoyed being able to see the film for a second time and looking out at some of the smaller details which I had missed in looking at the ‘big picture’ the first time around – noticing that yes, there are insects in the pattern on the wallpaper in Coraline’s home, even before she goes through the Door for the first time – realising that the doll which is un-picked in the opening credits is one of the ghost-children, and that even the frogs and hummingbirds in the Other Garden have button eyes, for example, which were all things that I thought I’d glimpsed in passing the first time, but wasn’t quite sure of. Having seen the film before also meant I had a little more attention to bestow upon my fellow audience-members:
I didn’t see any children being taken out for being scared, but most of them were clearly very caught up in the story – the little boy in the seat next to mine (who I would guess was about 6) decided to move to sit on his dad’s lap around the time the Other Mother tried to sew Button eyes onto Coraline.
I heard a little girl (also around 5 or 6) saying in an anxious tone of voice “don’t go through there, she’ll catch you”, when Coraline decided to go back through the door to rescue her parents – she remained sitting on the very front of her seat, eyes wide open, but when her mum asked her a little later if she was frightened, she said, “No, she’s going to rescue them all….[long pause]……[firmly]she will rescue them”
Clearly, a child who knows how fairytales work!
The parents, and other unaccompanied adults also seemed to be enjoying it too.
It was a totally different ‘feel’ to the screening I went to in Dublin, where the audience was almost wholly adult. I only actually spotted 2 children, and they were both, at a guess, between 10 and 12.
I still have some reservations about the ending – I would have liked to see Coraline succeed in defeating the Hand as a result of her own resource and sagacity, as she does in the book, rather than by way of luck and Wybie, although I can see that this would take longer, which must be a consideration in a film.
All in All, I felt it was a morning very well spent. And the showing was in 3D, too, which I hadn’t expected, as last time I looked the cinema (in fact none of the cinemas locally) were offering 3D, and it wasn’t stated on the ticket. Of course, Monsters vs. Aliens opened here earlier this month, which I suspect has something to do with it, but it came as a very welcome bonus!
It was good to see that, although the film doesn't officially open here for another 12 days, the cinema did have quite a lot of 'Coraline' stuff in the Foyer - 2 out of 8 banner-type posters were for Coraline, plus a free-standing display and posters outside. I have started seeing trailers on TV, too, and most schools have their half term holiday towards the end of May so with any luck, it will still be in cinemas long enought to take avantage of that as well.
(very blurred shot of banners)
Now, if I can just get myself organised to see ‘Let the Right One In’…
After coming back from the cinema I did a little DIY – Highly chuffed to have successfully fixed a bolt to the WC door; it was my intention while the going was good to fix one to the bathroom door too (they both have the kind which are supposed to ‘lock’ the catch when you close the door but don’t, and I thought I really ought to do something about it before my lodger moves in next Saturday) My attempts at double DIY were however foiled when I opened the packaging of the 2nd bolt and discovered that, unlike the first, it did not come with any screws, and I don’t have any more the right size, so I shall have to leave that for a day or two until I can pop into B&Q again. But 1 out of 2 isn’t bad.