♪Making up a song about Coraline. She’s a peach, she’s a doll, she’s a pal of mine. She’s as cute as a BUTTON in the eyes of everyone who ever laid their eyes on Coraline. When she comes around exploring, Mom and I will never ever make it boring. Our eyes will be on Coraline.♪
- The Other Father’s song about Coraline
I have LSS with this song and I enjoy watching the movie again and again – with my kids of course. I initially got this movie for my kids to enjoy – but in the end, it seems that I was the one who enjoyed it more. This is among those animated films that (some) adults – (me included) would be delighted to watch.
The film Coraline is based on the novel of the same name – written by Neil Gaitman. The story centers on teenager Coraline Jones who is often ignored by her parents – who are busy with their work. The family has just transferred into one of the apartments at the “Pink House” after they have had a truck accident – which has been probably caused by Coraline (as implied by her conversation with her mom). Since “Mom” and “Dad” (Sorry, I didn’t get their names) are always too busy with their garden catalogue, Coraline tends to wander around and explore things – including a little door in which has been bricked up. She also meets the neighbors…
(a) Wylie – the talkative, nerdy kid who wears weird clothes and does weird stuff (like playing with slugs). He tells Coraline that his grandmother owns the Pink House and she usually doesn’t rent it to kids because his grandma’s twin sister went missing there. Wylie also gave Coraline a doll which looks exactly like her. The doll was made by the “Other Mother” and was actually released to the “Real World” to spy on what Coraline wants.
(b) Ms. Spink and Ms. Forcible – Retired actresses who have peculiar body features. They love dogs and they argue about a lot of things. During Coraline’s first visit, they try to predict her future by reading her tea leaves. One told her that she should be careful because she’s in danger. The other told her she’s going to meet a handsome man.
(c) Mr. Bobinsky – is a tall, oddly colored guy who lives upstairs with his circus mice. He calls Coraline “Caroline” and tells her that the mice asked him to warm her to stay away from the little door.
During her first night at the Pink House, Coraline sees a circus mouse which leads her to the little door. To her surprise, the door is no longer blocked with bricks. Instead, it leads to the “Other World” where she meets her Other Mother, Other Father and other neighbors. In that world, everything seems to be perfect. Her Other parents shower her with a lot of attention and so does the other neighbors. The Other Father sings, plays the piano, and is an excellent gardener while the Other Mother attends to Coraline’s every want and cooks delicious meals.All the other neighbors are way better than the real ones. And oh, she also sees the black cat there (apparently, the real cat who was first with Wylie). The black cat warns her about the Other Mother but she refuses to listen.
Coraline keeps on coming back to the Other World every night as she hates and is bored with everything that is happening with the real world. One night however, the Other Mother tells her that she could stay in the Other World forever but she has to sew button eyes on her. Coraline refuses and tries to go back to real world but is then held captive by the Other Mother inside a mirror. She meets three ghosts – apparently, three kids who were also victims of the “Beldam” (meaning: witch). Fortunately, the Other Wylie helps her escape and she is able to return to her real home – only to find out that her parents have been stolen by the Beldam.
Coraline goes back to the other world to rescue her parents. She brings the cat with her and the “Seeing Eye” which was given by Ms. Spink and Ms. Forcible. She follows the cat’s advice and asks the Beldam to play a game of hide and seek with her. She tries to find the ghosts’ eyes and her parents. She succeeds at finding all and escapes with a lot of help from the cat.
Back at home, everything seems to be back to normal – not until the three ghosts warn Coraline that she has to hide the key to the little door so the Beldam would never escape again. She then goes out of the house to throw the key into the deep well. However, the spidery-like hand (yes, just the hand) of the Beldam escapes from the little door and goes after Coraline. Thankfully, Wylie is there to help her. They succeed in getting rid of the hand and everyone gathers for a “garden picnic-party” the next day.
WHAT I THINK OF IT
The animation was really good and very Tim Burton and Henry Selick, if you know what I mean. The blue hair, blue shoes, and the vibrant, stubborn attitude makes Coraline quite an interesting character – though not that lovable. Actually, all of the characters – both their characterization and their appearance – looked peculiar, and it made the film more interesting and effectively creepy.
To a great extent, I wouldn’t really recommend this for young kids who are easily scared and are suffering from nightmares. The story is also a bit complicated for kids to understand (ages 5 and below). If you are to watch this with your kids, I suggest you guide them all the way and explain the story details and lessons.
The animation was pleasant to look at and I think it was the special creative ingredient which made the film a masterpiece. It may not have given the characters very defined human-like features but it was effective enough to convey the feelings and reactions of the imaginative characters. I think the setting wouldn’t have been delivered appropriately if another form of animation medium was used.
Overall, Coraline was a brilliant animation film which most youngsters and adults would find delight in. It was witty, imaginative, fresh, and somewhat creepy – and the combination of these characteristics (and the encouragement of my daughters) has prompted me to watch it over and over again.