Coraline (Film)



Genre:  Animation, fantasy

Director:  Henry Selick

Running Time:  95 mins

Budget:  $60 – $70 million USD

Released:  6 February 2009

Plot: An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

Based off of the Neil Gaiman Novel of the same name, the Coraline film uses old-school stop-motion animation as opposed to modern CGI, in the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride in order to portray the story.  Stop-Motion is a rarely used technique nowadays as it has basically been rendered obsolete thanks to the use of CGI.  Stop-motion is rather low cost and time consuming but it yields a look, feel and texture that many argue to be superior to that of computer imagery.  It’s worth it in the end as it produces a very unique and often-times creepy look that is well suited to the subject matter present in Coraline.  Tim Burton has extensive experience with the medium.

Well I haven’t read the novel yet, only the graphic novel adaptation, but between the book and the film there were some minor differences, listed below:

  • The story originally took place in the UK, rather than Ashland, Oregon.
  • Wybie was not a character in the original novel, and Mrs. Lovat is only mentioned briefly.
  • In the book, the Other World isn’t really “better” but Coraline says that it is “more interesting”.
  • Coraline originally had brown hair in the book, and blond hair in the graphic novel, but it is changed to blue in the movie.
  • Mr. Bobinsky from the movie is known as Mr. Bobo in the book.
  • It is not directly mentioned that Mr. Bobinsky (Mr. Bobo) was an acrobat in the book, only that he trained mice.
  • Though in the movie the Other Mother uses a doll to spy on Coraline, there is no doll present in the book. The overall doll theme, while present, was not as significant as in the book (the Other Mother’s hands were not made of sewing needles, for example)
  • Coraline only makes two trips to the Other World in the book (the first when she discovered it, the second to retrieve her parents), yet in the film she makes four.
  • The black cat has green eyes, as opposed to blue, in the book.
  • The Other Father, while still accidentally divulging things to Coraline, does not directly oppose the Other Mother in the Novel. Unlike the Movie where he is trapped by his own machine, he himself is turned into the monster near the end of the book. He was also locked up in the basement instead of drowning in the river.

So is the film any good? To answer that question, yes it is.  Even though there were differences from the original source material (as always), Coraline was a highly enjoyable and visually pleasing film.  Great-looking locales, interesting characters and top-class voice acting all contribute in making this film an instant classic.  In my opinion, Coraline is not for kids, the weird and creepy tone of the film may be a little too eerie for younger audiences which is good as a lot of parents seem to think that animation is only for kids, well this film will prove them wrong.

Score 3/5