Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Coraline is a stop-motion animated film based on an award-winning novel of the same name written by Neil Gaiman. The story centers around Coraline, a young girl who moves into the Pink Palace Apartments with her distracted and always too busy for her parents, Mel and Charlies Jones. The story features a wide array of intriguing characters, including Wybie Lovat, the grandson of the owner of the Pink Palace Apartments; two old and overweight actresses, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible; Mr. Bobinsky, a circus mice trainer, and last but not least a black cat who's wise to the truth about the 'other mother'.

Whilst exploring her new home, Coraline finds a little door hidden behind wallpaper which at first glance appears to be bricked up. Later that night Coraline manages to travel through that portal into a parallel reality into an apartment exactly like hers where her 'other mother' and 'other father' look the same as her real parents, except they have button eyes, and they're everything her parents are not, interested and caring, and better in every way. Mom cooks delicious meals and dad even writes songs for her. Coraline navigates between both worlds at night while her parents are asleep. All seems like paradise until she turns down the 'other mother's' offer to stay there forever, as long as she lets them sew buttons for her eyes, then things get a little hairy, and Coraline quickly realizes to be careful what you wish for.

I loved this movie for what was on the screen, but having read up on the making of the film, I loved it all the more for the talent, dedication and creativity behind its creation. As I said earlier, Coraline is stop-motion animation which basically means the film is shot frame by frame as true artisans of their craft manipulate miniature models of each character. According to the film's website, it took some of the most talented animators and puppetmakers in the world three years to make this film. It really is incredible when you think that each scene took hundreds, maybe thousands, of shots to capture from each minute body movement to each little grimace or grin on a character's face. Truly amazing stuff. Here's a YouTube clip which offers a brief glimpse into the making of Coraline.

My only warning is that despite the fact that it's an animated movie, this really isn't for little kids. It's a bit too dark and creepy for the little ones.