Genre: Kids, Horror, Animation
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French
Synopsis: After moving to a new home, Coraline discovers a passageway into strange world where everything is perfect but beneath all the fun and excitement is a dark and twisted core that Coraline must overcome to save her parents.
In a lot of ways Coraline is like the westernized horror version of Spirited Away. In fact, the stories are incredibly similar and both films deal with the same themes, namely maturity and overcoming sadness and selfishness by toughening up and facing problems head on. Although the two films are very similar in story and themes, the style and artistic direction could not be more different. The animation in Spirited Away is awe-inspiring, colorful, and lush whereas in Coraline it’s dark, brooding, and haunting. The overall feeling in Coraline is a sinister one and at times it feels like we’re watching some sort of bizarre twisted fucked-up Cirque Du Soleil shit…only without the gyrating crotches in the face.
You shouldn’t be surprised by the dark nature of this film though because it’s based on a story by Neil Gaiman. For those of you who are not familiar with Gaiman’s work, I suggest you read ‘American Gods’ which is a fascinating story about how immigrants who came to the US brought their own beliefs and Gods with them. Still, those of you with young children might want to watch it alone beforehand to see if it’s really age appropriate. In my mind, there is not much scarier than a Teri Hatcher spider demon chasing you along a metallic spider web. Also, scary ghost children with buttons sewn into their eyes feature prominently which is rather freaky.
Even though this is technically a film for kids, there is a lot for adults to enjoy and plenty for baked adults to enjoy. For instance, older fans of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will be delighted to see them lend their voices to the film as they play a pair of eccentric old ladies with a bunch of dead dogs. What’s funny about it is that they essentially swap roles with Dawn French voicing the Saunders-esque character and Jennifer voicing the plumper of the two characters. Also, there are some super trippy scenes such as the ones involving the light up garden and the mouse circus. The film is surprisingly accessible for both children and adults although the latter will probably understand the parents’ perspective.
All in all, Coraline is a good horror introduction to your kids and it teaches them valuable lessons about strength and independence. If you don’t have kids then all the more reason to watch this high. I hope someone out there actually does get the idea to turn this into a stage play or some sort of Cirque Du Soleil performance because that would be trippy as shit. I think I’d go and just be like Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan in Knocked Up. Please somebody do this. Do a kickstarter or something. I’m looking at you Zach Braff….or Melissa Joan Hart to an extent.
- The musical garden scene! Oooh it’s so pretty and I want that praying mantis machine thingy.
- For a young girl, Coraline is stylish as fuck. I want her blue boots but most of all I want her yellow raincoat and sailor hat! Tres chic.
- Wyborne’s sassy black grandma. Everyone needs a sassy black maternal figure in their life.
- Great lessons and beautiful animation.
- The tunnel between the real world and the other world is kind of vaginal I guess.
Yet another film I adore that is aimed at children. I don’t know why I love kids’ films so much but I do. Coraline is a great choice for those who enjoy horror-lite. The film has a lot of offer: stunning animation, great characters, well thought story, and age-appropriate thrills. More than that though is the fact that this film has a great message. I honestly prefer Spirited Away because that is just an unbelievable experience for the senses but I have to admit that Coraline came very close and is a worthy American competitor. I just hope that we get more kids films like this in the future.