With the recent release of ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (Knight, 2016), I thought I would take this opportunity to praise and remind everyone of Laika studios brilliant 2009 feature ‘Coraline’ (Selick, 2009). Based off of the Neil Gaiman children’s book of the same name. Laika along with Aardman are the two leading production companies in stop motion animation. Their films are always beautiful to look at and shot with cinematic quality you might not expect from a stop motion animation.
As always I will only talk about the first third ish of the movie, so no spoilers ahead. The film starts with Coraline (Dakota Fanning) moving into the ‘Pink Palace Apartments’, as seen above. When she moves to a brand new place she is lonely, isolated and bored. But Coraline a very smart and tenacious young girl quickly gets about exploring and meeting all her neighbours who are an assortment of lively characters and a strange black cat. Soon in her exploring Coraline discover a entrance to another world. A world seemingly exactly the same as her but better. The only difference is, in this world. The other world. Everyone has black buttons instead of eyes. Apart from this creepy detail. This world has everything you could want attentive caring parents’ lovely food, interesting neighbours. Seemingly the perfect place to go if you are bored of the real world you currently live in. But there is an underlining menace to the ‘other’ world.
One of the things I love about Coraline and other movies like it such as ‘Spirited Away’ (Miyazaki, 2001) and indeed most Ghibli films. Is the incredible strong and brave young female protagonists? I feel a lot of the films which are designed for women, such as the Nicholas Sparks books/movies tend to give the worst ideals for women. Occasionally they have some strong female characters but generally all they do is pine after someone they love and their life is never truly fulfilled until they find someone to love them. Coraline you feel though would live quite happily the rest of her life full independent. That I believe is the sort of message we should teach everyone. Not just kids. People are much smarter, braver than they think. Coraline a young girl proves that is not your size or age that matters it is about been strong when you need to be and always been curious. Saying all this there is actually a male protagonist in the film who is not in the book, he is called Wyborne ‘Wybie’ Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.). The reason he is in the film is because, in films without Voice Over (VO) there is no way of knowing clearly what a character is thinking, this gives Coraline someone to talk and therefore don’t constant VO. Despite his addition it is still very much Coraline’s story and she does face the vast majority of the danger by herself.
Another thing I ought to mention is Coraline although is menacing and maybe scary for young ones, it is also very funny. With particularly good turns from the always funny Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. This film will make you laugh, cry, hide behind the sofa (I maybe using all the movie stereotypes right now). It is absolutely worth a watch and at 100 minute run time it won’t take up too much of your day either.
I leave the trailer below in case you want to check it out.
I thoroughly recommend this movie, particularly if you have young daughter. However, I am a 21 year male myself without a daughter or any children indeed and I still love it so it is good for anyone.
If you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to get in touch.