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'Coraline' — A Movie Review

A young girl, bored and feeling unappreciated in her world, accidentally travels into a new and different world where people have buttons for eyes...

If you ever find a door that you don’t remember seeing in your home, it’s best to avoid it. You never know if there is another world that is waiting to pull you into its dark fantasies.

Can you believe that it has been ten years since Coraline was released into theaters?! I remember going to see this film and immediately being pulled in by the dark atmosphere, talented voices, and visuals so stunning for an animated film.

Coraline is about a young girl, bored and feeling unappreciated in her world, accidentally travels into a new and different world where people have buttons for eyes. Only this world soon becomes a danger right before Coraline's very eyes.

Originally a book written by the phenomenally talented Niel Gaiman, it easily becomes a memorable piece of work directed by Henry Selick. Selick creates his own unique tale putting different elements into the film which work just fine.

Stop motion is a fascinating piece of cinematic work. It’s easy to get invested into Coraline or any stop-motion work studying what goes into making a beautiful film. In Coraline, all the clothing the characters wear were knitted with needles as small as a human hair! That takes commitment.

Shooting the film lasted 18 months. There was even a time where it was set to be shot in live action. Thankfully it was not. Stop-motion gives the film its eerie and unique essence.

Coraline stars many talented faces. Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgeman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, Robert Bailey Jr, and Ian McShane sell the film and their characters in such a believable atmosphere. Coraline’s parents have little time for her, while her neighbors are all eccentric people. And a mysterious cat wanders the Pink Palace.

After watching Coraline, I went on to read Niel Gaiman's version of the story and I have to say that I like the film version better. No offense to Gaiman, but both versions of Coraline still carry the creepy effect, the book lacks the excitement of the other world. Coraline wasn’t at all excited to stay in the other world like in the movie where she’s given all the delectable food to eat, and two entertaining shows performed for her.

A new addition to the film is Wybie Lovat, a unique friend for Coraline to talk to. With him, he adds in a backstory about the pink palace, and also an important character who we meet later on. He and Coraline have fantastic chemistry which is also one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Coraline is a magical film which stores quite a few blink and you miss it moments. One great example is the Other Father’s song on the piano the first time she enters the other world. Pay close attention to the lyrics.

Although it’s meant to be a kids film, Coraline is very dark. It can be scary for young children most especially the other world’s startling images. The Other Mother is eerie, too. And there is one note of nudity, but not too graphic. The ending keeps viewers on the edge of the seats when you realize that the danger is still not over.

One issue I had with the film is the line where Wybie mentions that his Grandmother, the owner of the Pink Palace, refuses to sell rooms to families with children. How was Coraline allowed to live in the Pink Palace? Either a plot hole or a story contrived reason, it is a question to wonder.

Beautifully scored, directed, animated and acted, Coraline is a beautiful masterpiece taking a different approach to a well-written book. I will always remember watching this film ten years ago when I was thirteen laughing along and watching in anticipation for what happens next.

Coraline is a definite must-see film. Viewers will be wowed by this stunningly dark beautiful tale.

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'Coraline' — A Movie Review
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