"Coraline" (2009)

Rating: PG (for scary images)
Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy
In Theatres: May 8, 2009
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Focus Features

While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery, until Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and the rest of her parallel family try to keep her there forever. Coraline must use all her resources and bravery to make it back to her own family and life. Based on the 2002 fantasy/horror novel by British author Neil Gaiman.

This is not a children’s film…is it? It’s traumatising! A creepy, creepy film. I loved it.  It’s a very creative film. There’s certainly nothing else like it!! The whole thing with the buttons for eyes, while scary, is also clever.

I guess it’s a tendency for us to imagine another alternative world to the one we live in, a “better” world. This film is a classic example of being careful what you wish for and not everything is greener on the other side!! Be grateful for what you have.

That being said…talk about bad parenting! Coraline’s mother and father were terrible. They ignored her, scolded her, treated her completely as though she wasn’t wanted! I was surprised how much so to be honest. No wonder she wanted to go live with the Other Mother. 

As well as the great story, this is an extremely impressive film production with some ground-breaking achievements under its belt. It is the first stop motion film to be shot entirely in 3D. At an hour and a half, it is also the longest stop motion film to date, and the first animation film to be released by Focus Features. The first time that a stop-motion animated morphing sequence has ever been accomplished, the sequence runs for 130 frames, or nearly 6 seconds.

Coraline's facial combinations consist of 3D printed prototypes. New technology enabled a prototype to be moulded by a computer, which was then hand-painted by the modelling department. Each jaw replacement was clipped between Coraline's eyes, resulting in a visible line which was later digitally removed frame-by-frame. There were at total of 207,336 possible face combinations for the character. To construct 1 puppet of Coraline, 10 individuals had to work 3-4 months. There were 28 different puppets of varying sizes; the main Coraline puppet stands 9.5 inches high. 

The Coraline shoot lasted over 18 months, following 2 years of pre-production. That’s devotion! Over 130 sets were built across 52 different stages at the studios; spanning 183,000 square feet, the 52 different stages were the most ever deployed for a stop-motion animated feature. The on-screen snow was made from superglue and baking soda.

I really question the film’s target audience. It appears to be targeted towards children but I felt it would be far too scary for them. Be that as it may, I thoroughly enjoyed this film! It’s fantastic. 

Final Rating: 4/5 Stars