I apologize for putting this out a day late, but as shocking as it sounds, I have a life outside of writing movie reviews. To make up for it, there will be two coming out today. First, this one for Coraline and then, my review of Candyman will drop later.
Coraline is a 2009 stop-motion animation film directed by Henry Selick, who is well-known for craft in stop-motion. Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher are some of the notable names to lend their voices for this cast.
The first thing you notice about this film is the smoothness and crispness of the animation. When you hear “stop-motion”, you may lean towards viewing it as a film that might be hard on the eyes because it is done in single frames, but that is not the case here. Every set piece is stunning to look at.
In case you don’t know the plot of this movie, Coraline lives with her parents and they have just moved from Michigan to Oregon. She feels neglected by her parents because all they do is write on their computer and get filled with angst when she tries to interact with them. Because of this, an alternate universe forms and Coraline is introduced to a new world with an “other mother” and “other father” where she receives anything she could imagine but with each visit, Coraline starts to realize that everything is not what it seems.
As this movie rolls along and we get to the other world, you are introduced to something quite unsettling.
The button eyes.
These eyes that everyone has in the other world are still creepy as hell. However it works, everyone in this alternate universe can see with these button eyes and it still scares me to this day. I remembered how much I was creeped out by this movie when I saw as a ten-year-old and those feelings still hold today.
Outside of the animation, the adventure and exploration throughout is the best thing going for this film. There is never a moment where everyone is stopped. Coraline is always moving, whether it be outside, inside, or through the door to the alternate world. It keeps you invested in her ordeal of having everything she could ever want but without her real parents.
This movie does deliver a solid message on that subject. As much as you may believe you don’t have a great life because you can’t have the best materialistic items, as long as you are surrounded by people that I love you, that is all you really need and you should cherish it as much as possible because it could disappear at any time.
While I have a blast with this movie, there are some glaring negatives.
It is never explained as to how this alternative world came to be. Does it only exist in Coraline’s mind? Is this world a part of every child’s life? I wish the movie would have explored the background of this universe a little bit more.
Also, Wybie’s grandmother has an integral tie-in to a major plot point of this film but she is never shown. She yells at Wybie to come back home and that is all we get from her.
Overall, this is a must-watch during Halloween time. It brings out the uneasy feelings you want to have when watching a movie of this genre and it is just an all-around blast to watch.