Monday, February 9, 2009

Coraline [in 3-D]

Genre - Stop Motion Animation/Dark Fantasy
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 100 minutes
Rated PG (for some scary images/themes)
Directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas & James and the Giant Peach)
Written by Henry Selick
*Based upon the novella written by Neil Gaiman (who also wrote Stardust & Mirrormask)
Cast Includes:
Dakota Fanning as Coraline (she is also in Uptown Girls, Dreamer, and Push - which also came out on Friday - I have yet to see it. She is also going to play the part of Jane - one of the female werewolves - in New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, coming out next year)
Teri Hatcher as Coraline's Mother/the "other mother" (she is also in Spy Kids. She was also in the "they're real and they're spectacular" episode of Seinfeld. She also played Lois in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman)
John Hodgman as Coraline's Father/"other father"
Robert Bailey Jr. as Wybie
Keith David as the cat (he is also in John Carpenter's The Thing & They Live, as well as Roadhouse, Marked for Death, and Platoon
Ian McShane as Mr Bobinsky (he also provided a voice-over in Kung Fu Panda)
Jennifer Saunders as Miss Spink
Dawn French as Miss Forcible (she is also the voice of "the fat lady portrait" that guards the Gryffindor Common Room in the Harry Potter films)

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Curious young Coraline unlocks a mysterious door in her family's new home and is transported to an alternate universe that strangely resembles her own - only better. But when her "other mother" doesn't want Coraline to return to reality, our heroine must summon all her courage and ingenuity to go home and save her family.

My two favorite stop-motion animated films are The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, and they both just happen to be directed by Henry Selick [who directed Coraline as well] I can now add Coraline to this list! This film was beautifully shot and the 3-D puts you right into Coraline's world. The imagery is both stunning and creepy at the same time.

We first meet Coraline exploring around her new home - a 150-year-old Victorian-style house that has been turned into apartments. While exploring, she meets the owner's grandson Wybie [which is short for Why Born] :-( and his 'free to roam about' cat.
We learn that Coraline's family just moved from Michigan - her parents write for a Gardening magazine and seemingly cannot be bothered with Coraline's constant attempts at attention.

During Coraline's meanderings around the apartments we meet the eccentric neighbors ~ upstairs lives a retired acrobatic circus performer, Mr Bobinski, who has taken to training circus mice. Downstairs lives two older sisters who were theatrical actresses, one of whom has an enormous bosom!

One day Wybie brings Coraline a doll that he found in his grandmother's belongings - the doll looks exactly like Coraline, with button eyes. . . While exploring inside her apartment, on a rainy day, Coraline finds a little door in the wall - upon finding the key [which has a button head] she opens the door only to find a brick wall on the other side. After heading to bed after a rather blah meal, Coraline is awoken during the night - she goes downstairs and finds the little door in the wall ajar, with light emanating from behind it. When she opens the door further, she discovers a tunnel that leads to another little door opposite. After crawling through the tunnel, she comes out in a room seemingly the same as the one she just left. She then hears her mother calling her for dinner ~ turns out that Coraline made her way into an alternate reality, similar to her own, except perfect in every way - in this world, her parents lavish her with the attention that she desires, the food is scrumptious, and the neighbors are not that odd at all. The only difference in this world is that everyone has buttons for eyes, and not all is as at seems. . .

Here's the Trailer:

Generally, I like to see movies on Friday, [opening day] however we went to pick up our oldest, from the airport. I wanted to take the whole family to see this one, but 3-D films are more expensive [it would have cost us $57.00, just for the tickets, and that's a matinee!] Saturday, we were out and about all day, so I couldn't see this one until yesterday afternoon [which is generally "family day"]

The reason that I'm telling you this is because I decided to take my two daughters [ages 4 and 8] with me. On the way to the movie, my 8-year-old kept telling my 4-year-old, "this movie might be scary - are you sure you want to see it?" I told them both that it would be fine - if the youngest got scared, she could sit in my lap and hide her eyes, while I covered her ears. . .

Turns out that it was my 8-year-old that got completely freaked! [the 4-year-old was totally fine!] :-)
Again, if it hadn't been for family day, yesterday, I would have gotten on-line to write this review, yesterday afternoon. Turns out, it may have been to your advantage. I want to say that my 8-year-old came into my bedroom, at least 3 times last night, scared from the movie. . . So, if you have any children the least bit sensitive, you may want to see this one first. Just a warning! :-)



Bo said...

Although I didn't love it as much as you did, I thought this was a great film. I really liked how the 3-D wasn't used for "comin' atcha!" gags, but instead just made the world a deeper place. I also warned a buddy of mine with kids that there are some moments that may scar his young one.

thebonebreaker said...

Hey Bo, I'm glad that you commented - ever since you changed your page to a .com I haven't been able to find a place to leave comments - is there a place to do so?
I've still been reading your reviews though - again we disagree on The Uninvited, but that's okay! :-)

As for Coraline - I agree with you about the 3-D making the world a deeper place - it was very cool!

I meant to mention in my review that Coaraline is the 1st 3-D Stop Motion Animated film! [I am loving it!]

As for the scares - I still don't get why my 8-year-old flipped - it was only slightly darker than James and the Giant Peach, which she LOVES!


Bo said...

I think there's something inherently creepy about someone wanting to steal your eyes. It's very yecccchh. The only place to leave comments on the new site is immediately beneath the news pieces, or the forum page, which is in its infancy, but I like having it there.

thebonebreaker said...

I can see that Bo ;-)

Thanks. . .


Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

I saw this just this past weekend and I gotta say, I totally agree with your rating. 5 stars (er, "skulls") all the way. Great film. Highly imaginative. Well-written. Personally, I think it was better than anything, with the exception of Edward Scissorhands, that Tim Burton has ever done. There's also a strong mature undercurrent of sapphic imagery and a subtextural self-actualization message, both of which I found extremely intriguing (if a bit blatant in some places).
But, hey, would you expect anything less than brilliance from a movie based on a Neil Gaiman book? I think not. Gaiman, to be blunt, ::ahem:: ...kicks fucking ass!

thebonebreaker said...


Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as I did!
Question though - what did Tim Burton have to do with this film? [did I miss something?]

As for Gaiman - I completely agree! :-)


iMike said...

Henry Selick is a fantastic film maker! Your review only cements my wanting to see this. I'll take your advice though, I'll leave the little ones home first.

thebonebreaker said...


You will definitely enjoy the film.

I am familiar with Gaiman's works, and I knew that this one was going to be 'dark' but I in know way expected my 8-year-old to be truly frightened.
[you have a 7-year-old daughter, correct?]
Now I know, for future reference, that mine is somewhat sensitive to 'dark tales'

Let me know how you liked the movie, after you have seen it!


fxguy said...


This Friday, I am off, not Valentine's Day :( - so I decided to take the whole family out to dinner and a movie. They unanimously chose Coraline. Yes, I'm even bringing Orion (it will be his first theater movie).

We watched James and the Giant Peach the other day, and they loved it (I'd seen it when it first came out). I'm such a fan of Roald Dahl's books.

thebonebreaker said...


Are you going to be able to see it in 3-D? [just wondering ~ this one doesn't matter like MBV did, but the 3-D definitely heightens the experience!]

I LOVE James and the Giant Peach - I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I've seen that one! :-)

Let me know how your day goes. . .


Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

I'm sorry. I think I worded that "Tim Burton" part of my comment confusingly. What I meant to say is that Coraline is better than anything Tim Burton has ever done, not anything ELSE he's ever done (implying he had in this... he did not). I made that comparison simply because 1- it's a dark, slightly gothic-influenced, animated film focusing on imaginative imagery and emotional pathos & feelings of loneliness, with a strong individualist message, which almost instantly warrants a Tim Burton comparison since that is the exact kind of cinema that's become his trademark, and 2- the animation style (stylized, German Expressionist-inspired stop-motion) is extremely similar to Burton's stop-motion pictures, and, finally, 3- the guy who directed Coraline also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas (most people assume Burton directed, but he did not... though he was the main driving force behind that film, obviously), so in the press I've seen a lot of comparison between Coraline and Burton's films... and I just wanted to make mention that, if people are gonna be comparing the two I'd just like to say that I, personally, think Coraline is a better film than any of Burton's films (again, with the exception of Edward Scissorhands). That's all.

thebonebreaker said...


Perfectly understood! :-)

I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing anything - I know that Burton wrote & produced NBC, and I know a lot of folks mistakenly think that he directed that one as well.

As for the comparisons between Coraline and Burton's stuff - I can totally see that! :-)

Thanks for the comments Bro!


fxguy said...

I just called the super-mega-plex in Bangor where I'll be going, and they said it is not shown in 3-D. Oh, well.

There are a few 3-D movies this year still to come. Next up, I believe, is Final Destination IV.

thebonebreaker said...

That's okay - MBV was pointless without the 3-D ~ Coraline will definitely still stand on its own!

Yes, we have FD IV, Monsters vs Aliens, and Pixar's latest - UP - all which are going to be in glorious 3-D :-)


Soiled Sinema said...

Good good film. Writing a review soon. My version: It's like Silent Hill adapted for children.

thebonebreaker said...

Well then, I'll be looking forward to reading you review SS! :-)