Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coraline (2009)

Today's animated feature is Coraline.  It's a film that I think I would have been too frightened to see as a child, but as an adult I really like it.  This film was directed by Henry Selick, who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.  However, instead of a sing-songy cute creepy movie, we get an actual creepy adventure where a lot happens in a short running time.  Still, it is the longest stop motion animation ever made.

Coraline and her parents move into an old house that's been converted into apartments.  Her parents write for a gardening catalog and are too busy writing to do anything else.  They have no time to fix up the place, most of the boxes are still unpacked, they often forget to buy food, have no time to actually do some gardening, and above all ignore Coraline at all times.

Bored and lonely, she decides to explore the area.  Her other neighbors are a pair of ancient retired actresses living in the basement.  They love their terriers, and once one of them dies, they stuff them and dress them as an angel.  The upstairs neighbor is an eccentric Russian who trains circus mice.  The main person she talks to is the owner of the house's grandson, Wybie (the only character not in the book).  She is mostly annoyed by him.  While exploring, she comes across a tiny door wallpapered over.

She eventually opens the door to find a brick wall.  Disappointed, she goes to sleep that night.  Then, she goes downstairs to the door to find a tunnel to an alternate reality!  Everyone in the house, including her parents are there.  The weirdest thing is that they all have black buttons for eyes.  Everyone exists to serve or entertain her in this world.  Her "other mother" cooks fantastic meals and scrumptious desserts.  Everything is so amazing here.

I'm not going to write everything that happens, but this world exists to lure her in and trap her, like a spiderweb traps a fly.  Coraline realizes this almost too late and manages to escape, only to find her parents trapped.  Earlier, she would have given up this world for the seemingly better one, but after finding out what is really going on, she heads back to the other one to rescue them.  Like in Alice in Wonderland, Coraline is helped out by an intelligent talking cat.  She will need all the help she can get to defeat the Other Mother and escape this world.  This was one of the best stop motion animations I have seen, it was creepy without being "cutesy creepy" like any Burton crapola and yet I feel my daughter would like it.  I wanted to see it first to make sure it wasn't awful.  I will give this film an 8/10.


  1. Like you, I probably would have had nightmares if I had seen it when I was little. I feel bad for the kids whose parents think that all animated films are only for little kids.

    I liked this movie quite a bit, from the parallels in the two worlds, to the adventure, to the scares. I didn't see it until long after it came to DVD, but I was glad when I finally did.

    1. I'm debating if I should let my daughter see it, then again nothing scares her.