Reviews: Coraline and The Shack


Okay – I was excited about going to see this movie. Why? First – the artistry of the handmade stop motion movie. Second: it was part of a girl’s day out. Love ’em! So my official review – and please keep in mind that I am not a movie expert. Just an ordinary person. 🙂

Rating: B

The movie is about Coraline, a little girl who has moved with her parents into a big old house. The parents are extremely busy and while Coraline is exploring the house she finds a little half door, which is bricked off. One night, a little mouse leads her to the half door – which now opens to a fluffy tunnel leading to an identical house. The ‘other’ house has the ‘other’ mother and the ‘other’ father, who are not too busy to play with Coraline. They feed her wonderful food and have great adventures. But appearances aren’t always what they seem….

When I stop to think about the handmade sets, the characters, the artistry…it is pretty amazing. But that amazingness could not captivate me during the actual movie because I was too dizzy from the 3D effects. I realize that not all theaters have 3D – and I wish I had been at one of those! I really think I would have enjoyed it so so so much more.

The plot seemed to move slowly at first and then I felt like once the story really got going, it was over. Many have said that they heard it was dark or spooky. I can see where some might have that impression, but there is no blood or anything that was really ghastly or obscene in my opinion (although the overweight scantily clad dancers might come close). While I won’t be taking my children to see it in the theatre, because it cost too much and I don’t think it would hold their attention, I would probably feel comfortable watching it with them on DVD once it is released.

The Shack

Well, my trial on audiobooks gets mixed reviews. I got work done. Yay! But I figured out that I am a passive listener – probably due to the fact that I listen to music almost all the time. So I had to really concentrate to listen to the book. It wasn’t a big deal when it was just me at home alone working – but once all 3 kids were here running around, needing this or that, arguing over one thing or another it was impossible. I had to ‘put the book down’ when the family was around. Still, it was successful enough that I will continue to listen to books while I work (intermingled with the usual music) – but it won’t replace the goodness of sitting down and reading a book.

So onto the book. Again – same disclaimer as before….I’m just a regular person here. No degrees in English or literature, no lengthy studies of theology, etc. etc. 😉

Rating: A

The book is about a man, Mack, who receives an invitation from God to meet in ‘the shack’. The shack is where they found his daughter’s blood soaked dress a few years back. Mac hesitantly decides to see if the invite is really from God or some prankster – maybe even his daughter’s killer. In fact, it was an invitation from God, and he spends the weekend struggling through some of life’s most challenging questions.

I think that, as a parent, I could relate to Mack through the horror of loosing a child. Just the thought of having one of my children taken from me nearly brings me to tears. The book doesn’t have much action but rather a bunch of conversations. (Possibly another reason I found it harder to listen with distractions.) Some of the conversations between God and Mack were quite intense, and I’m sure that there are those who have issues with some of the theological aspects…but for me, this is what I was reminded of when listening to the book.

God is good. He is not just a bigger or better version of human beings. He does not have our flaws and our weaknesses. I struggle to truly comprehend his goodness and it is always good to be reminded of that fact. Anyway, I don’t need to make this about my spiritual issues. Basically, I think we often get caught up in religion, rituals and rights – and we therefore tend to forget about relationship. This will be a book I want to read – not just listen to on iTunes.


4 Responses to “Reviews: Coraline and The Shack”

  1. 1 LAW February 25, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I too enjoyed The Shack. It is one I want to read again (I read it in 12 hours one day) but I let friends borrow it for now. There is so much in there I want to process again. And I have been surprised how many times examples from that book have come up in Bible study conversations and at school. It really does help remind us how much God loves us as individuals — and wants to do what is best for us…as He sees best. God also is who we need Him to be within his character of course. But I like that He meets us where we are — He is comfort when we need it, joy when we need it, strength when we need it, a guide when we need it, a butt kicking when we need it. 🙂

  2. 4 Mom March 2, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I got the book from Aunt Helen for Christmas, but I haven’t read it yet 😦 Someday.

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