In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.
The sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace, and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.
Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.
When Coraline moves to an old house, she feels bored and neglected by her parents. She finds a hidden door with a bricked up passage. During the night, she crosses 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 invites Coraline 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. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1,300 square feet of fake fur was applied to stand in for live and/or dead grass. See more »
Watch very closely during the opening as the hands unstuff the doll, and restuff it. When you see the doll inside out in full, look down at her feet, with the heel stitches on the same side of the body as the face. See more »
[after hearing a creature while exploring the hills]
Hello? Who's there?
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Partway through the credits, behind the scenes footage of the mice swirling around the portal is shown, giving a look at the process of animating in front of the blue screen. See more »
Imaginative story, amazing visuals and uniquely great music.
Henry Selick's latest movie, and his first in 8 years is a true treat. It was excellent in every way, except for the emotional punch, which wasn't even really necessary. The 3-D is very good, and without the 3-D, though the movie would lack the depth, it still would stand out. It is the visuals that make this movie so great, but the characters, plot and music are all top notch too, which add up to a fantastic film.
Coraline (Dakota Fanning) and her family have just moved, and Coraline is bored. She has no friends in this new place, and her parents are quite intent on ignoring her. The only other kid that lives close by, Wyborn (Robert Bailey Jr.), is irritating to Coraline, and she finds the dolls in her room to be better friends. After Wyborn gives Coraline a doll that looks like her, strange occurrences begin to happen. Coraline finds a small door leading to an alternate, seemingly perfect universe where her button eyed parents feed her good food and give her presents for no reason. This universe is not all that it seems, and Coraline learns this the hard way.
Henry Selick has always been about the visuals. His first film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", showed that his knack was for the sights, and amazingly, his animation and style has evolved. "Coraline" is just as good looking as any of his past works, if not more so, and the animation has gotten better and crisper. Every little set, and every character is bizarrely designed to fit into this surreal movie.
The main critique for this film seems to be that it has no emotion in it. Though emotions aren't a prominent aspect of Coraline, there is emotion. Coraline doesn't have a clicking relationship with her mom and dad, but that's why she loves the other mother and father so much. Coraline as a character has enough emotion to be the lead to a film like this. This wasn't meant to be a tear jerker animation. It was clearly made to bring Neil Gaiman's strange plot to life with dazzling animation.
Doing the music is Bruno Coulais, and briefly They Might Be Giants. Mr. Coulais's score is beautiful, and strange, and most importantly, fitting. The music sounds how Coraline should sound, and it is a great listen. It is easily comparable to Danny Elfman's score for "The Nightmare Before Christmas". They both have catchy, sad and unique music all rolled into one. They Might Be Giants also wrote a song, which is nice sounding, though nowhere near as catchy or lovely as Coulais.
If I had any problem with this film, it would be that it didn't dive far enough into the alternate universe, but even that didn't lower the movie in my opinion. This was an excellent animated film, and is one that can actually be qualified as a family film, in that all members of the family can and probably will enjoy this.
My rating: *** 1/2 out of ****. 100 mins. PG for mild language, violence and mildly sexual animation.
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