Coraline (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) – DVD Review
By Jeff Swindoll Jul 20, 2009, 19:34 GMT
From the director of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" comes this wondrous and thrilling, fun and suspenseful adventure in eye-popping 3-D! A treat for the entire family, this modern, magical tale, teaches one of life\'s most important lessons: things aren\'t always better on the other side of the door. And, as the first stop motion animated feature to be originally filmed in 3-D, it\'s unlike anything moviegoers have ever seen before. ...more
Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel is given fine treatment by stop-motion director Henry Selick. Selick is more known for Nightmare before Christmas and he adds another fine effort to his filmography to go along with that one.
Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) has moved into the Pink Palace apartments. Her parents Mel (Teri Hatcher) and Charlie (John Hodgman) are busy writing an agricultural catalog and don’t have time for her.
She begins to explore the woods around the Pink Palace and happens upon “Wybie” Lovat (Robert Bailey, Jr.) who tells her that his grandmother thinks strange things have happened in the Pink Palace. Coraline also meets the other tenants, the Russian circus performer Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane) and retired actresses Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Miss Forcible (Dawn French).
She also discovers a small door that has been wallpapered over, but it’s locked. She asks her mother about it and in hopes of getting some work done, her mother finds the key to the door.
However, Coraline’s hopes of adventure are cut short when she opens the door and a brick wall is what is behind the mysterious door. Later that night, Coraline is awakened by some strange mice that she follows. They go through the small door, which is no longer bricked up but leads her to another world that is a more attractive copy of the one she left and a stray cat (Keith David) who is silent in the real world talks in this fantasyland.
Her “other” mother and father are more attentive and take an interest in her, but things get more sinister with each subsequent visit to this other world.
Coraline is a delight. Director Henry Selick adds another stop-motion masterpiece to his canon that includes Nightmare before Christmas (1993) and James and the Giant Peach (1996). Coraline joins those masterworks in their exciting, nostalgic stop-motion execution, their dark tendencies, and whimsical finished films.
Coraline is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman from 2002 and played in certain venues in 3D. It has the feel of a film that is destined to join Nightmare in classic status, if not officially at least in the hearts of millions of fans.
The vocal cast is top notch with standouts being Coraline herself, Dakota Fanning. She’s given wonderful support from McShane, French and Saunders, Hatcher, Hodgman, Bailey, and a wonderful turn from Keith David as the cat. I’ve always been a fan of stop-motion and remember fondly those holiday specials using it.
Coraline may have a more modern twist as far as the story goes, but it does produce a feeling of nostalgia that makes it an excellent film.
Coraline is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Disc one is double-sided with a 2D version on Side A and a 3D version on Side B. You also get four 3D glasses for your 3D viewing pleasure. Special features include a commentary with director Selick and composer Bruno Coulais.
Disc two contains the remainder of the special features as well as the digital copy. First up is 9 minutes of deleted scenes with introductions by Selick. The 35 minute “Making of Coraline” delves into the production of the film and the 10 minute “Voicing the Characters” talks to the rich vocal cast.
Coraline is just a wonderful film. It’s expertly rendered and cast and adds another classic to Henry Selick’s filmography. It comes highly recommended for kids of all ages, though some of the dark themes might be too much for the wee tikes.