Coraline is the most recent work of director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone) and is definitely to be seen if you’re a fan of stop motions; something that we see far less of these days. Not only is it animated flawlessly but the story is presented with the help of a fantastic voice cast consisting of Dakota Fanning (Coraline), Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman (Mr and Mrs Jones, respectfully), Keith David and others. The movie is rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.
The movie begins with a prologue showing hands reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands receiving a floating doll through its window and over the course of the title credits crafting it into a doll version of the main character of the movie, Coraline Jones. As mysterious as the doll entered the room we see it depart back out into the night. It’s here that we are introduced to the Jones family as they finish moving into their new home, the Pink Palace Apartments. Coraline’s parents are both dedicated to their work of writing a plant catalog and neglect their daughter (Coraline) whom finds the new home to be extremely boring. Through the course of this we meet Coraline’s eccentric neighbors: Sergi Alexander Bobinsky (Dedicated to training his own mice circus), Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (Two sisters who are retired actresses and have a family of Scottish Terriers) and Wybie (Or Wyborne), the grandson to the owner of the Pink Palace. It’s also near her where Wybie gives Coraline one of his grandmother’s old dolls that has an uncanny resemblance to her.
As Coraline tries to find ways to pass the time in her boring and dull home she finds a mysterious small door that has been sealed with bricks on the other side. That is, it’s sealed during the day… As night falls Coraline is woken by the sound of a small mouse that leads her to the door, now leading to a tunnel into the “other apartment”. It’s there that Coraline meets her “other parents”. Her new mother is dedicated to cooking whatever Coraline wants to eat and her father has gadgets that do his work for him so he can spend more time with his daughter. It’s all Coraline could ever ask for and she finds herself wanting to go to the “other” apartment as often as possible. However, she has a hard time adjusting thanks to one of the odd qualities of people from this world; they all have buttons for eyes. Coraline is suddenly forced to make a decision as to stay in this world and figure out the dark secret of her other parents.
Now on to the DVD for Coraline and what the features are (Everything past disc two is exclusive to the limited Collector’s Edition):
– Disc one has the 2D version on one side and the 3D on the opposite along with commentaries with Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais.
– Disc two not only contains a digital copy of the movie, but deleted scenes, a Making of featurette and a behind the scenes look at the cast voicing their characters.
– Also included is four pairs of 3D glasses (A huge improvement over the usual two pair given out)
I’ve always been a fan of stop motions and this movie definitely doesn’t let me down in that department. Everything is animated very well as the effects done are certainly as great as one could hope for and the music really helps draw you into the scene. It’s clear Selick knows exactly what he’s doing when he makes a movie and I look forward to his next project.
Note: One thing that was advertised for this movie was the 3D nature of it. I was unable to see the movie in theaters so I couldn’t fully experience this, however the DVD comes with a 3D version of the movie. Even though I’ve never been able to adjust to the standard red and blue 3D glasses on a television it may work far better for others, (Especially if you have a high definition screen) but if you only watch the 2D version of the movie you won’t be let down at all.
Movie rating: 4.5 out of 5
DVD rating: 5 out of 5