Movie Review: Coraline
By: Max Miller, Grade 9
By the time a dismembered, spider-like hand tried to force its way through a tiny crack in Coraline, I realized I hadn’t really walked into a kids’ movie after all. It may not be something you’ll want to bring your little brother to, but Coraline is still one of the most entertaining animated movies I’ve seen in years.
You’ve probably daydreamed at one point or another about a ‘perfect’ family, where the parents are never on your case, the food is always good, and the days are all about having fun. For Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), this becomes a reality when she enters a parallel world through a door in her drawing room. Coraline is greeted by her ‘other’ Mother (Teri Hatcher), but it’s soon clear she has more sinister intentions.
For the most part Coraline‘s script stays close to Neil Gaiman’s novella, which definitely plays to the films’ strengths. Every twist, every chill, every quirk can be found in the movie, and for fans of the book that’s definitely a huge plus. Though there are a few script changes, they’re for the better. I really liked Wybie, a character introduced so Coraline ‘wouldn’t [be] a girl walking around, occasionally talking to herself.’ He really comes into the spotlight during the redone ending, which feels a lot more climactic than in the book.
But what really makes Coraline special are the visuals. Director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) is endearing and imaginative, just as any great fantasy filmmaker should be. Although the film doesn’t use any of the technical wizardry, that of Pixar or Dreamworks, it will make you say ‘wow’. Every set is perfectly detailed, and the character models animate wonderfully. Together with the great score and sound effects, it creates what is probably the creepiest atmosphere ever in an animated film. Coraline is also the first stop-motion film to use 3D technology. It’s great, and I’d definitely recommend seeing it in 3D.
Coraline isn’t your typical animated movie, and most kids will probably find it too creepy and macabre for their tastes. For us braver folk, though, it’s a really great time at the movies. It’s a rare combination of looks and brains. It’s one of the most imaginative fantasy flicks ever.
It’s a modern classic.