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Well, it's happened again: another animated movie that can I describe
"the greatest-looking animation I've ever seen!" (This has happened
several times now in the past few years, and especially when them
available on a stunning Blu-Ray disc transfer).
You literally have to see this animation to believe it.....and I'm talking about the 2-D, not the 3-D (which is not even in the same ballpark.) Forget the 3-D glasses and watch this as you would any other movie....and get the Blu-Ray, if you can. You'll be extremely impressed at the colors and detail, and just plain blown away by it all.
Not only to the colors and detail dazzle, but the inventiveness here is really fun to watch and items change from one form or color to another. It reminded me of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" but with more sophisticated art.....but the same cleverness.
To me, all of this made the story almost secondary but the latter is very interesting, too. The story is unique; quite different, with a good message getting everything you want not always being as attractive as that sounds. Once "Coraline" meets here "other" parents, you'll really get hooked into this strange story filled with weird images and characters.
I only wish the Coraline had been a little bit nicer kid since it's easier to root for someone when they're likable but the story should keep you guessing and in suspense. That made the last half of the film very easy to get engrossed in because so many bizarre things happen here, you don't know how it's all going to end. Thus, I found myself not being concerned about her personality flaws. The minor characters in this story, by the way: such as "Mr. Bobinsky," "Miss Forcible" and "Miss Spink" - are a real hoot.
I'd say this film is more for adults than kid, especially if one appreciates great artwork and creativity.
"Coraline" is simply one of the best animated films ever made: The
plots is brilliantly developed, the animation is detailed and beautiful
to look at, the characters are fascinating and interesting, and the
world created by Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick it's simply captivating,
but mysterious and dangerous and well.
Clearly influenced by "Alice in Wonderland", "Coraline" is charming and macabre at the same time: At first "The Other World" seems like a dream come true, but there is also a constant sense of danger in the air.
Dakota Fanning makes a great work as the main character, and Teri Hatcher is flawless in her role of the Mother (And the Other Mother as well) of Coraline, not to mention the excellent performance of Keith David as the cat.
"Coraline" is one of the best movies of the recent years, and it is the best movie of Henry Selick as director since "The Nightmare before Christmas."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am eleven years old and I absolutely loved this movie. Every bit of it was fantastic. I read the book before I watched the movie and was quite satisfied. I, for one did not have any nightmares of such. I think adults are completely overestimating what children can't handle. This was a fine movie. But maybe some of the elements weren't appropriate for younger viewers, like when Miss Spink and Forcible were performing in the other world. I may be different then other children because I can tolerate more scary elements. This was creepy and very original. I loved how twisted and strange it was. The movie was very good and I do suggest some of you actually allow yourselves to enjoy it without criticizing the moment you see something that seems inappropriate. I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and trust me if I can endure The Lost Boys, I am pretty sure I can endure this. Parents, stop being overprotective and allow yourself to see the good things.
CORALINE is an exceptional movie and I really have to admire the folks
who made it. However, I should point out that this is NOT a movie for
younger viewers because the movie is basically like walking into a
nightmare. I think I'd be very hesitant to take a child younger than 10
to see it--it is that dark and scary.
When the film begins, you are blown away by the amazing stop-motion film work. I assumed it must have been computer generated, but amazingly the film was made using models and figures with interchangeable features. It is many generations beyond the old Rankin-Bass animation or even "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (also by the folks who brought us CORALINE). The artistry was amazing and so many little details and touches made the film look magical. In addition, I found a theater where it was shown in 3-D and I really think it's well worth the extra money to get the three dimensional experience because it was flawless.
The story is about a young girl who is unhappy. Her family just moved into a weird old Victorian era home but the parents are so busy with their job that they don't have much time for poor Coraline. Later, however, Coraline discovers an alternate world--one where everything looks a lot like the real world but seems perfect--so perfect that she'd rather live there. However, being a scary story, things of course aren't as they seem and this leads to a confrontation that could spell doom for the girl and her parents.
Excellent all around and I have no serious complaints. A very good film for older kids, teens and adults....but not little kids, as the film will probably scare them out of their wits. Don't let the PG rating fool you--this is NOT like a Disney or Nickelodeon film but more like an even more intensely dark Roald Dahl story done in stop-motion. Neil Gaiman is the author of this tale and my daughter read his story and the film and although they were different here and there (the film adds Wybie, for example), she said both were equally wonderful.
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 Coriline 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.
"Coraline" is a dark and creepy animation that follows the style of Tim Burton in "Corpse Bride" or "The Nightmare Before Christmas" with non- likable characters. In addition, there is no subtle message for children. Therefore, it seems to be primarily recommended to adult audiences. The nightmarish environment is supported by awesome cinematography and a great music score. None of the characters is totally likable .My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Coraline"
First - if you see this movie, try to see the 3D version - not all
presentations are in 3D. Second, know that this movie is way too dark
(IMHO) for kids under 10. Not only could the visuals be too intense,
but the pacing is not that of a children's show.
OK - that said, this movie is great. The strength is in three areas: visuals (scenery, characters, and little 'details'), style (this is movie is simply a work of art - a very dark and offbeat style) and emotional impact (the film visually evokes a lot of childhood feelings about growing up).
The basic setup: A little girl and her parents move into a big, mysterious old home. One night, she learns that a little door in the house opens into a passageway to a parallel world. In this world, there are alternate versions of her parents, friends and everything ... as she journeys back and forth, she learns more and more about this world ... and the story progresses from there.
If that sounds a bit too simplistic, there's more to it in the full story. Plus, it's presented in a serious and dark tone - which adds to it's mystique. The only area I can knock it is in a tame use of 3D. There are definitely some spectacular 3D parts, but the way it's used in general makes it fade into background
If you're drawn to the visual aspects of movies, then this is must-see movie for 2009.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**** (out of four)
By Aaron Dumont
A work like Coraline is, much like Pixar's Up, a relieving work. The state of mainstream cinema today---a cynical feeding tube of explosions, borderline-playboys, one-dimensional insults to characters and character development, and pretty much vapid cultural nothingness---seems always to be steeped in a complete lack of ideas, thought or obstacles. That, among several other things, is what makes Coraline so special. Of course, it's still a great work when standing on it's own, but such an unlikely breath of fresh air is simply difficult to come across these days---Coraline is well-near rapturous. The endless sense of unsettling terror, of mystery, of complete perplexity---the kinetic, vibrant balance between emotion, adventure and hallucinatory near-myth is purely stunning. In the wasteland of today's arts and entertainment medium, one so dense with mediocrity that intellect can barely survive in it, Coraline finds itself in the humble, calm, albeit mundane world of a young girl named (ever-so-obviously enough) Coraline. Coraline, bored with her limited surroundings, workaholic parents and (utter lack of) contact and friends, goes exploring in her twisty, spirally house, before finding a small door, leading through a pulsating, acid-like tunnel, before getting dragged right into a darkly perfect alternate life, with an Other Mother, Other Father, delicious meals, ridiculously luxurious mansion/garden/shows and magic/et cetera. Though as Coraline gets more and more obsessed with this psychedelic happy-circus alternate life, she begins to become disillusioned by a series of unfortunate findings; the mandatory buttons-for-eyes, the Other other's insanely cruel punishment towards Coraline's only friend, the trapped souls... I won't reveal much more; such a movie needs to be experienced. During the final moments of the movie, the dusky, cloudy shades from previously bloom into complex interplays of lights, shadows, primaries, often wandering off into more psychedelic regions, often entering a twisted dream logic and topsy-turvy psyche, though the brilliance of Coraline is that is stays earthy and on its feet even when it has its head and arms embraced right into the wildest of fantasies, dreams, nightmares and puzzles---the terrifying, vertiginous scene where Coraline has a final standoff between her and the Other Mother, is one of pure, handcrafted imagination; it's something so antique yet so inventive, something nostalgic yet open and liberating that it can only be one thing, something difficult-to-recognize but more than welcome: genius.
To watch this movie in 2d is to watching the 7 star version. To watch in 3d on a 65 inch Panasonic Plasma 3d TV and the 3d BluRay version DVD is mind blowing and a feast for not only the eyes but for touch...yes, some of the scenes were done so well it felt like you could reach out and touch them in my living room. I would say they were even better than Avatars 3d which up to this point I thought was the most spectacular...but this stuff is just so good, so real, a whole different kind of TV. 2D Blu Ray even though it's super sharp, super colorful, just cannot compare to the added visual power of 3D and that's where the movie takes off...forget the storytelling, forget the characters, even though many were quite interesting, and sit back and enjoy immersion TV...some day they will make a 3d movies were the story is equal to or better than the visuals and then it will be a new dawn in television.
The Movie Coraline is an animated film well worth watching more than
once. SPOILER ALERT The movie starts out introducing Coraline, voice
actor Dakota Fanning, who is new to the Pink palace and is soon
introduced to the black cat, voice actor Keith David, and Wybie Lovat,
voice actor Robert Bailey Jr., who both are stalking Coraline. We then
meet her mother Mel Jones, voice actor Teri Hatcher, and her father
Charlie Jones, voice actor John Hodgman. Corallines' new life is shown
to be less than wonderful as she meets her other tenants and is unable
to realize her dream of gardening. Soon she discovers another world,
which is much better in every way tailored specifically to Coraline
based on information gathered by a spying Coraline doll carried by
Coraline unknowingly. The other mother quickly turns villainess, as she
is unable to get Coraline to do what she wants. With the help of the
black cat, Coraline is able to escape the other mother and return home
saving other children's souls who were less fortunate than she was. As
well as her parents who were trapped to lure Coraline back to the other
The movie end with Coraline now happy with her real world and realizing she had everything she needed there all along. The theme of wanting more than what you already have and not seeing how good you have it is common among films today. However, the creative imagination of Coraline takes a spin and makes a very unbelievable situation seem plausible. The motif of the movie is seen often as the theme is drawing on what is real and what is too good to be true. When the sound and lighting are as controlled as in Coraline the Director can really impress upon the viewer a believable world that you can see yourself involved. The songs used make the world's first the regular world and then the other world seem like a place of dreary and boring plainness and then a world of pure imagination yet also terror. When the other world is dissolving the technique of fading the edges into white is pure genius.
The angle also helps you see through a subjective viewpoint in the majority of the scenes, even though it is not truly the camera angle but how the slides are drawn to show certain angles. The theme is so crucial in Coraline because few people would think the way Coraline is acting at the start of the movie might even be bad but as the movie progresses you see how she is flawed in her original outlook and judgments of her parents and new neighbors.
When it comes to visuals, nobody does it quite like Henry Selick. In
unimaginably original and absorbing fashion, Selick gives life to a
written fairytale, just as he meticulously gave birth to the figures
that inhabit the world of Coraline. More than any traditional fable of
say, Hansel and Gretel, Coraline evokes more similarities to Guillermo
Del Toro's, Pan's Labyrinth in its curiousness, bizarreness and dreamy
Such material almost seems to discover Selick of its own accord and with his past visions, James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare before Christmas, his use of stop-motion technology and now 3-D, perfectly portrays the mood and atmosphere of the story on screen. Yet, there is such a thing about being too quirky and outwardly eccentric and it is this self-awareness and bizarre coldness that keeps Coraline from reaching the heights that it may have been destined to acquire. This is however a strong contender for this years Oscar ceremony and I truly hope Selick will finally be recognized for his accomplishments in the fields of animation, stop-motion and film-making and storytelling as a whole.
Peppered with well assigned and memorable voice-work, the stars anchor the film further yet into such a memorable fantasy. Staring as the scrappy youngster Coraline is Dakota Fanning, who proves she is a very capable voice actress. Moving with her writer parents to the somewhat eerie Pink Palace Apartments, Coraline feels isolated both from her mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgman) who are buried in their work while being separated from her friends back home. She entertains herself by visiting her odd neighbours, and avoiding the only other kid nearby, Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.). One night however, a small door in the wall of the creaky apartment seems to call to Coraline and a wonderful alternate world reveals itself. This land of fantasy is filled with kindness, gifts and love (even though its residents have buttons for eyes); the opposite of the world Coraline has grown to hate. But soon a sinister essence begins to show itself and the young heroine must choose between this new world and the one she wishes to leave behind.
Of the few problems that impede Coraline, one of the most detrimental is the somewhat solemn and depressing mood of the film which is sure to put off some children, even if not the accompanying adults. Coraline's parents are distant and somewhat cruel to their daughter as they bury themselves in work and neglect her desire to simply have fun. Even worse, is that there is no catharsis to this character flaw at the finale, and it left me somewhat emotionless. There is also the aforementioned issue with the sometimes hugely apparent, self-referent wackiness, although I won't hold that against Selick and his personal vision. Above all, Coraline differentiates itself from other stop- motion films and will hopefully anchor itself as this generations Nightmare. Parents and older children will be engrossed by the visuals and those older will be given plenty to admire, even love and those younger will be given a film they can love more with each passing year.
7.5 / 10.0
Read all my reviews at: www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com
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