How do I even begin to discuss the movie Coraline? Well, let’s start with some of the information about the filming and production of Coraline. This film is unique in not only the story line but also in how it came to life. Animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators took the entirety of three years to complete the creation of Coraline. The style may remind you of something out of Tim Burton’s mind, however this creation was the child of Director Henry Selick, who brought to life movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. Coraline, based on Neil Gaiman’s book “Coraline”, made history by being the first “stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3D.” Cast members include voices such as Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, and John Hodgman, to name a few (for a full cast list click here). Coraline had a very riveting award season with being nominated for forty-one different awards and winning seven; including three Annie Awards for “Character Design in a Feature Production,” “Production Design in a Feature Production,” and “Music in a Feature Production.” With an estimated budget of $60 million, the film was able to successfully create a project that grossed over $75 million in just four months.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the technical aspects of the film, let’s go on to discuss the film itself. The storyline is something of the fantastical mixed with a touch of new age thriller. We open to a doll floating through a window and into the hands made of sewing needles. The hand then proceeds to remove any detail that makes the doll
look like a little girl, and recreates the doll in the image of someone new. We then switch over to a new scene. Coraline Jones, voiced by Dakota Fanning, finds herself in a new home away from her friends; this is the worst thing that could happen to a kid, or is it? While exploring her new home, she meets a boy named Wybie, short for “Wyborne,” who begins to foreshadow an impeding danger as he explains that his grandmother’s sister went missing in Coraline’s new home. Wybie later sends Coraline a doll that looks eerily similar to her, the same doll that is seen being created in the opening of the movie. Coraline finds a little locked door; she then “pesters” her mother to help open the door. The mother finds a key with a button on the end that happens to unlock the door, which Coraline finds to open to nothing but a brick wall. What she doesn’t know at the time is that behind that door actually lies the portal to another dimension where it is almost the same as her own. When Coraline enters this new realm, she finds herself in the presence of her “other mother” and “other father” who, creepily,
have buttons for eyes, the same button that you see on the key. This other world is a polar opposite to Coraline’s world. I do not want to give you too many details of the plot to where you feel as though you have seen the movie.
I will say, the artistry and symbolism in this movie is simply magnificent. I find the best example of this brilliance is within the settings. In Coraline’s real world, her surrounds seem dull while the “other mother’s” world seems bright and colorful; the beauty is that the people in Coraline’s world are colorful while their counterparts are dull in the “other mother’s” realm. I find that this is what lies as the moral of the story.
Under all the terror that the Beldam creates lies a truth that we all must know: our life is not made rich by the houses, fancy rooms, nor the incredible meals we may eat, it is made colorful by the people we choose to surround ourselves with. I find this movie to be one I will continue to watch, even though it’s PG. I encourage you to watch the trailer, rent the movie, grab a bag of popcorn, and enjoy.