Newest Review: ... at. It is clearly a cartoon type film yet could be scary for young children and the DVD is listed as PG. I am not sure if there is a moral... more
In a world of it's own
Member Name: magenta23
Advantages: Plot, vocal performances, characters, beautiful animation, original
Disadvantages: If your child is scared of monsters under the bed, probably not a good choice
Coraline is the new stop frame animation by the director of 'The Nightmare Before Christmas', Henry Selick. Dark, macabre and a little far fetched it a brilliant gothic fantasy that lovers of 'Nightmare Before Christmas' will love.
It was originally given a U certificate but reclassified to a PG, for fears it would give children nightmares. I think this was wise, I was scared it would give me nightmares and I'm 23! I really wouldn't advise this as a children's film at all, yes it's lots of colour and outrageous characters, which is a real feast for the eyes, but even some of the images sent a chill down my spine, not in a slasher horror film kind of scary, but the sort of eerie images that stick in the mind. These images, I feel are real strengths of the film, just I may has given it a 12 certificate.
The film tells the story of a girl called Coraline (though she hates people calling her Caroline), a little girl who has just moved with her parents to a new old house away from her school and friends. Her parents are gardening writers and always tapping away on there computers too busy to play with Coraline and she gets bored so is given the task of exploring the house by her father, counting all the windows and doors. Whilst exploring the house Coraline comes across a strange little door but it bricked up. That night, a mouse leads her out of bed and back to that little door, but this time there are no bricks. The door acts like a portal to another life. Everything on the other side at first looks the same, only better. Her mother and father are there, and they dote on her, making her gorgeous dinners and singing her songs. Only they have buttons for eyes. They explain that they are her 'other' mother and father and this could be her life forever if she wishes. Is this all a dream? Can she really stay there forever and what's the catch? I won't spoil the plot for you but you get the idea of the storyline. Needless to say, not everything in the 'other' life is as pefect as she first thought.
The characters in this film are what makes it. Coraline, herself perhaps the least interesting, but of course, crucial to the story. She is voiced by Dakota Fanning, a prime example of using a celebrity voice to no real effect other than to get bums on seats. The little boy, 'Wybie Lovat' who befriends Coraline is a mysterious one, not quite sure whether he's to be trusted or not and beautifully designed as a crazy haired, talkative, sunken eyed boy with his head alwys on one side. The fantastic actresses voiced by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are an example of where celebrity voices do work. Eccentric and shreiky, these characters sound like they were almost written for them. The actresses are two washed up old luvvies who live in the aparment under Coraline and her family and provide the biggest laughs. Mr. Bobinski is another excellently designed character. he is a wannabe circus ringmaster who lives above Coraline and is perfecting his 'amazing jumping mouse circus.' He is brilliantly voiced by Ian McShane and my personal favourite character in the film. The Mother and other mother are voiced by Teri Hatcher, and at first I thought much the same about this choice as Dakota Fanning, but was pleasantly surprised by the performance she gives, because without giving too much away, playing these parts means she had to show quite a range of emotions. None if these characters seem to be put in for just a laugh or to make up the numbers. All are equally crucial to the plot and success of the film, and successful they are.
As I've mentioned the 'look' of the film is a real feast for the eyes. The attention to detail is breathtaking. It's one of those films that after you've seen it you want to watch all over again as you feel you are bound to have missed bits. Watching it on the big screen so much was going on I felt like I needed another set of eyes!! The trailers urge you to go and see it in 3D and I can see how this would be amazing, if a little scary. I think the fact two different 'lives' are shown and flicked between during the narrative, it could potentntially caused confusion for the viewer in keeping up with the story, however everything is thought about with such detail, everything is clear at every point. The boring normal life Coraline leads is grey and dully coloured whereas the world through the door, is surreal and colourful, even though the set is the same. Equally the 'buttons for eyes' on the characters from the other life not only add to the dark style and arouse or suspicions as an audience, but act as a great device to tell the audience which part of the story they are following.
Coraline is on at cinemas across the country and if you like Burtonesque films, gothic fantasy or just excellently excecuted animation, I don't see how it can disappoint. One of the best films of the year. Go and see this!
Summary: Dark and delicious, I loved it.