The latest movie sent over for us to review on our iPod Touch so kindly given to us by NBC Universal is Coraline. I have to admit to not knowing too much about this movie before I watched it. I’d heard something about buttons for eyes and that it was a bit twisted but other than that I was pretty clueless.
The movie stars Dakota Fanning as Coraline, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Ian McShane, Keith David and is directed by Henry Selick who previously brought us A Nightmare Before Christmas. Once you see Coraline, that will make perfect sense. I think that I had the misconception that this was a kids movie but now that I’ve seen it, it’s so much more than that and will definitely appeal both to adults and children. That said, it’s quite a freaky film with a few bits that made me, a now 29 year old man jump! It is however rated PG so I’m probably just a wimp!
Coraline tells the story of a young girl who has recently moved into an old house with her workaholic parents, dead set on finishing their book. Coraline is an only child and quickly becomes bored of sitting in this big old house with nothing to do. Tasked with counting windows by her father, desperate to get rid of her, she quickly starts causing mischief by exploring both the house and the grounds surrounding it. On her travels, she meets a scraggy old cat (voiced later by Keith David) and a quirky boy called Wybie (voiced by Robert Bailey Jr.), which is short for ‘Why Born’….. See how this is starting to get a bit odd?!
Anyway, Coraline falls asleep one night to be awoken by some mice running into the door which was previously bricked up. When she opens the door, a tunnel appears with mystic colour drawing her in. After crawling through the ‘Being John Malkovich’ style tunnel, she finds herself in an alternate world where everything that she dislikes in the ‘real world’ is reversed. Her parents have all the time in the world for her and life revolves around her rather than around a book. The only thing is that all the people in this alternate world have buttons for eyes. This scares Coraline at first but their love for her masks the buttons and she loves every second of it. When night falls in this alternate world, her ‘other mother’ will put her to bed and when she awakes, she finds herself back in the ‘real world’. To find out what happens next, you’ll have to buy the download through iTunes or the DVD / Blu Ray (either in 2D or 3D) as telling you more would spoil the movie.
Coraline is one of those films where I was blown away by the complexity of it from the second it began to the moment it ended. When I say complexity, I’m mainly talking about the animation. The physics behind how it all works together is astounding. There are parts in the movie where the animation itself becomes a character, where you see the wire-frame makeup of the story in the alternate world which stitches together to create what Coraline sees. The way in which this was envisaged by both the director and graphic artists is simply astounding and so cleverly put together.
Coraline was a movie that I could watch over and over again. The style of animation was different to anything I’ve seen before – with maybe the exception of A Nightmare Before Christmas. The story wasn’t 100% original as it’s that sort of a ‘Lion, Witch, Wardrobe’ style of ‘what’s behind the magic door’ but the creativity and lengths Selick has gone to, to make this his own is excellent .
The characters they’ve made were also brilliant with a few which you’re a bit worried might be a bit too adult for young children but actually, i think they’d just find it funny. Dakota Fanning does a good job as Coraline, ably supported by Hatcher and the rest of the cast, but this movie is really all about the animation and my hat (if i was wearing one!) goes off to the animators and production team. It’s animation but not like you’ve seen before,