Review By: Doug Nau
Directed By: Henry Selick
Produced By: Claire Jennings
Written by: Henry Selick (Screenplay)
Based on the novel by: Neil Gaiman
Starring By: Dakota Fanning
Robert Bailey Jr.
Score Composed By: Bruno Coulais
Songs By: They Might Be Giants
Based on the 2002 novel by British author Neil Gaiman about A young girl named Coraline(Dakota Fanning)moves to an old house, who feels bored and neglected by her parents. She finds a hidden door with a bricked up passage. During the night, she finds the door and not bricked up, she then goes through the passage and finds a parallel world where everybody has buttons instead of eyes, with caring parents and all her dreams coming true. When the Other Mother (Teri Hatcher)invites Coriline to stay in her world forever, the girl refuses and finds that the alternate reality where she is trapped is only a trick to lure her to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home - and save her family.
Coraline is a great movie,The Story is very imaginative though very much like a creepy version of Alice and Wonderland with a little bit of The Chronicles of Narnia and you get a spine-chilling fantasy adventure. Although it's not quite as good as the book, but Henry Selick does the book justice and I highly recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the book. It's no surprise since he was the guy who directed The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, this was a perfect film for him.
My favorite character isn't the titular character Coraline to me the real star of the book is the Black Cat(voiced by Keith David) and they kind of cut down his part down quite a bit which i think is the movies big downfall. This is in part of the movies character addition of Wybie (voiced by Robert Bailey, Jr.), Although I must admit that his addition is well done and not one at was all that pointless but you feel that it would be good even if he wasn't in the movie because the cat is the most awesome character in the book.
The animation is so vividly stunning, and beautifully done its even greater that its stop motion animation which we hadn't seen in a while. My favorite animation sequences in the movie are the one scene after Coraline finds all three stone and the outside of the house flakes away into nothing but white is so cool, another would be inside the house near the end of the film when the floor transformed into a spider-web trap when Coraline tried to escape is so magical and the scene is pretty intense with the witch.
The cast does a very good job each suits the characters voice's very well, the standout is of course being Keith David as the Black cat his voice fits the character perfectly.Other notable cast is Dakota Fanning as Coraline, Teri Hatcher as Mother and Other Mother, Jennifer Saunders as Miss Spink, Dawn French and Miss Forcible, and Ian McShane as Mr. Bobinsky.
The Score composed by Bruno Coulais a French composer who I think were going to here about more often who does a very beautiful job with the score, one of the best score I've ever heard, with such haunting melodies as the "End Credits"; which Ironically is placed in the first track of the soundtrack then it was used in the film, "The Famous Mister B","Ghost Children","The Theater","You Know I Love You" and "Playing Piano".One music in particular uses as the theme for the character Coraline which is "Exploration".The Soundtrack even includes songs written by the band "They Might Be Giants" such as, "Other Father's Song", and "Sirens of the Sea" both are very whimsical and catchy, my favorite being the "Other Father's Song".
Overall its one of the best movies of the year, a very well made adaption of the novel while it not as good but still faithful to the book and won't have fans leaving in disgust.
Part of what makes "Coraline" such a good movie is the characters. There are so many unique and interesting characters in this story. Coraline, for example, is far from your everage eleven-year-old girl portrayed in film. Roger Ebert explains in his movie review of the movie that, "She's unpleasant, complains, and has an attitude". It is refreshing to see a contrast from the happy-go-lucky little girl that most films portray. Another great character, frightening as she is, is the Other Mother, also known as the Beldam. Ebert states that, "'Coraline' is disturbing not for gory images but for the story it tells. That's rare in itself: Lots of movies are good at severing limbs, but few at telling tales that can grab us down inside where it's dark and scary." It takes a very well made character to be so terrifying without falling back on the use of gore. A lot of skill is required to create such dimensional and interesting characters, and they are what help bring this story to life.
The theme "Be careful what you wish for" is shown through the startling film, as Coraline soon realises that this "magic world" she wished for is anything but a paradise. Although Coraline's life could be better, she lives in a good home, with all the basic necessities, and her life could certainly be worse. Wishing for this utopian world where everyone worships her is what brought the curse of the Beldham upon her. By the time that she realizes that she wants no part of this sinister world, it is too late, and the Beldham has her in her trap. Not wanting to become one of the Other Mother's "dolls", she makes a deal with her and is able to save herself, her parents, and the lost souls that had been imprisoned. Not only is this film able to show the theme in a striking way, but it is also able to be resolved to give viewers a sense of conclusion.
Anyone who has viewed this film can concede to the fact that "Coraline" has beautiful animation. After 83 weeks of filming, this stop motion claymation film was brought to life. Being the first film of its kind to be offered in 3d, it took a even deeper step to pull viewers into this dark world. Not only is the cinematography aesthetically pleasing to watch, but it helps set the mood of the entire film. Every scene helps bring about the gloomy, uneasiness of the film. Even in scenes where the other world is made up to be a bright, beautiful place, the style and animation make it hard to trust that this place is truly harmless. It is easy to observe all the hard work put into making this film what it truly is - a masterpiece. With years in pre-production and filming, it is difficult to not be in awe at every scene.
On the other hand, some people say that "Coraline" is a bad film because it is scary, and marketed as a children's film. This point of view makes sense because the film is rated PG, and it is quite terrifying at times. However, the official genre of "Coraline"is a fantasy thriller. In the rating it says that there are frightening images. Parents should be well aware of what kind of movie they are having their children watch, and know their child well enough to know whether or not they would be able to handle the content in the film. A. O. Scott explains in his review of the film that, "the cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing." Many children enjoy a bit of a scare, so it is unfair to judge a film based on the ignorance of parents.
There are many elements of 'Coraline" that make it such a great movie. The characters are very unique, and make the story interesting. The theme holds a good lesson and is portrayed through the film very well. The animation helps show the mood of this film, and makes it aesthetically pleasing. It is important that we give "Coraline" the credit it deserves, instead of just blindly assuming that it is a bad film. It is important to make decisions for ourselves, and go into anything - movies, classes, etc - with an open mind. Otherwise, you may miss out on something very extraordinary.