Coraline is a stop-motion animated dark fantasy movie that was filmed in 2009 and directed by Henry Selick. Also, it was produced by Henry Selick, Claire Jennings, and Laika Productions, and distributed by Focus Features within a budget of 60 million dollars. The film is based off of Neil Gaimans book Coraline. The main cast members consist of Dakota Fanning, who voice acted Coraline Jones, Teri Hatcher as Mrs. Jones and the Other Mother, Jennifer Saunders as April Spink, Dawn French as Miriam Forcible, John Hodgman as Mr. Jones and the Other Father, Ian McShane as Mr. Bobinsky, Keith David as the Cat, and Robert Bailey Jr. as Wybourne "Wybie" Lovat.
For the most part, Henry Selcik had two visions when making Coraline. First of all, the director wanted the film to have audio and visuals that were unique yet appealing to the eyes of his audience. Also, he wanted to add a lot of symbolism and hidden messages to the movie to depict what Neil Gaiman wrote in the original version of the story and to add more depth to the movie.
Of course, it is very easy to see and to appreciate the film for its visuals. For example, the director and designers of the film cleverly used colors to create a bold contrast between reality and the Other World. Coralines reality is dull and boring; to express this, a color palette consisting of dull and muted shades of brown, green, and other colors was used. However, in the Other World, life is seemingly more colorful, exciting, and fantastical until Coraline learns about the ghost children and the Other Mothers true intentions. In order to show these elements, the cinematographers used a variety of bold and rich shades of purple, blue, gold, and other bright colors. Also, the contrasting color schemes between the Coralines real world and fantasy world allows the audience to easily understand why Coralines feelings towards both of them. However, after learning about the Other Mothers actual plans, the Other World decays into tones of gray and white and deteriorates into nothingness, revealing that everything in it is a lie.
Furthermore, the director successfully captured and expressed the personalities of the characters through the cast of voice actors he decided on. Dakota Fanning, for instance, perfectly expressed Coralines emotions of annoyance, fear, and rebellion against other characters, such as her mothers. Already, the viewers easily understand that Coraline is sassy, adventurous, bratty, and courageous young girl. Also, Robert Bailey Jr., the actor who voiced Wybourne, helped to express the geeky and nervous nature of his character through his voice. Basically, the director composed a great cast of voice actors to bring the characters of Coraline come to life. Moreover, the songs in the film have underlying messages to them too. For instance, when Coraline meets her Other Father, he begins singing a song about her. He sings about how shes a doll, which hints to how the Other Mother made a doll of her and that she plans on sewing buttons into Coralines eyes like a doll. Later in the tune, there is a line that hints that everyone who has buttons in their eyes have been spying on her for the sake of the Other Mother because she wants to see everything that is wrong with Coralines life. By learning about the imperfections of her life, the Other Mother can fix them and make things seem better when Coraline visits the parallel world, thus making her happy and encouraging her to keep visiting the other world. Eventually, by gaining enough of her trust and love, the Other Mother can devour upon Coralines soul by sewing buttons into her eyes.
In general, most viewers and critics recommend parents to not show this movie to kids because it does have its scary moments. Also, many adults feel uncomfortable with showing this movie to an audience of children because of its elements of death, ghosts, violence, and monsters. Moreover, they believe that this film is best for those who are old enough to appreciate the symbolism and imagery used, and for those who can understand the message behind the film: that everyone should be appreciative of what they have and should be careful for what they wish for. Personally, I agree with the past critics and reviews that Coraline has received. Younger audiences should not watch this film because, not only does it have its moments that are sure to scare kids, but there is a lot of symbolism and other messages that are hidden within the animations and the audio that young children wont notice easily. Overall, the film is charming and dark at times. Ultimately, Coraline is incredible in a cool yet creepy way.