Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Coraline Jones has just moved to a new house and left all of her friends behind. As if living in the pink house weren’t enough, her parents are ignoring her and the grandson of the pink house’s owner Wybie claims that his grandmother won’t ever let children live in the pink house because of what happened to his grandmother’s twin sister. Unconvinced of a real horror story, Coraline soon finds a secret door in the pink house that leads to another world. A world with her other mother, other father and where she is not only important to them, but everything revolves around her. It isn’t until her other mother starts to scare Coraline that she realizes perhaps this other world isn’t quite what she thought it was.

Don’t let the fact that Coraline is an animated film fool you – this is a hard core children’s horror film. If I had seen this film as a child I would have been more than freaked out – the blender scene in Goonies gave me nightmares, so I can’t imagine what the freaky other mother would have done to my head. This is a film where the main character is antagonized, put in danger and faces death multiple times and as if that weren’t scary enough it’s death at the hands of a monster who steals eyes and sew buttons in their place, and sews peoples smiles in place when they make her mad.

I understand that to make the premise of Coraline work, for her to be interested in an alternate reality Coraline’s parents have got to be vacant and neglectful. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was how downright mean Coraline’s mother was in the film. She is an awful, awful mother who should have her child taken away. At one point when Coraline asks her a question she literally tells her daughter “If I do this will you leave me alone?” Her father isn’t much better, though he’s presented as more of a absent-minded neglectful father instead of a downright mean one. I was almost rooting for the other mother/Beldam to kill Coraline’s parents just so they’d be out of Coraline’s life. I don’t know how terrible the parents in Neil Gaiman’s book were, but it was incredibly hard to see them as sympathetic characters whom their daughter should eventually care about saving.

Henry Selick gets the short end of the stick a lot. He’s the man that directed The Nightmare Before Christmas but all anyone considers that is a “Tim Burton Film”. However, now that Coraline has received a best animated film Oscar nomination perhaps Selick will start getting some credit on his own.

Director & Writer: Henry Selick
Coraline Jones: Dakota Fanninf
Mel Jones: Teri Hatcher
The Cat: Keith David
Mr. Bobinky: Ian McShane

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