Coraline (2009)

[Speaking of animated movies you shouldn’t miss, here’s another one I missed to review…]

Coraline is the newest stop-motion animation movie by Henry Selick, based on Neil Gaiman‘s book [which I reviewed here] and starring the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn FrenchKeith David and Robert Bailey Jr.

Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) moves with her parents (Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman) to a new house. Her parents are always busy so Coraline is left to explore things alone. One day she discovers a hidden door in her house and when she goes through, she meets her Other Mother, who is everything a child could hope for. But her Other Mother has buttons for her eyes. She wants Coraline to stay, but for that, Coraline will need to give up her eyes as well…

Coraline is a wonderful book and the world Henry Selick created from it is beautiful and absolutely amazing. There were some changes made from the book I didn’t understand but other than that I have nothing to complain about.


The design of this film is absolutely amazing. Not only the puppets, who are wonderful in themselves, but the whole world. Starting with the tunnel that leads from world to the other to the garden the Other Father creates. There are so many details… it’s awe-inspiring.

I saw it in 3D (that also means I saw it in German, so I won’t be commenting on the performances*) and that was wonderfully done as well. I think it really adds to the experience to watch it in 3D. [Not true for all 3D movies out there – Beowulf will stay ridiculous no matter how many Ds.] 

Now to the things I didn’t like that much. Most have to do with the changes from the book. First of all, I don’t understand the character of Wybie. Why’s he there? What’s he good for? Apart from the fact that he rescues Coraline in the end, something she was perfectly capable of doing on her own in the book. Is it really so necessary to have a boy save a girl in any movie that we create characters for that now?

Second, and this is just a minor detail, but the whole Mr. Bobinsky loves beetroots thing? Pretty offensive. And completely unnecessary.

A change from the book that I didn’t mind was the whole Other Mother is a spider thing. It was so incredibly well done and fit the character of the Other Mother that it seems the only logical step.

Summarising, it’s a must see, not only for Gaiman or Selick fans, but for everybody.

*Just let me say this about the German version: I was really surprised that they left two words untranslated: the first was “stalker” (which we do use in German but I wouldn’t have expected it to stay in a kids’ movie) and the second “nerd”… and nerd is not common slang in Austria (and I don’t think in Germany either). We’d probably say “Streber” which is the closest translation I can think of. But here, they decided to go with nerd. A sign that Austrians grow more bilingual (German and German-English)? ;)

4 thoughts on “Coraline (2009)

  1. Pingback: Re-Read: Coraline (Neil Gaiman) | kalafudra's Stuff

  2. Pingback: Re-Watch: Coraline (2009) | kalafudra's Stuff

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