Warning! This review/rant contains spoilers!
I had read the book Coraline a few years back and found it to be a delightfully creepy little story, and was more than excited to hear about the release of the movie a few weeks back. So now, here is my super quick mini review of this movie for those who might be interested in seeing it:
* The music. I absolutely loved this soundtrack; fairy-tale creepy music is perfect for the atmosphere of the story. Well, actually on its own the music isn't creepy; but it does have a dreamlike effect. I really recommend the soundtrack, expecially the track called 'Exploration.' *
* The animation. This is perhaps the movie's strongest point; containing interesting and charming scenes during the non-scary parts. Stop-motion with clay figures does send off an Uncanny Valley vibe, which is great for people who like moseying around down there. I loved all of the effort that went into this feature; Coraline's design was cute-as-a-button, while the Other Mother just seeped of uncanniness. I do have to wonder why they decided to make Mr. Bobinsky blue, though...
* The voices. A really nice performance from these actors! The difference in the tones of Coraline's mother and her Other Mother were quite chilling, which is awesome since those roles are important to the story.
* Coraline is a bit fascinated with herself. In the movie, Coraline finds a doll in her new house that looks exactly like herself. Although seeing Coraline wandering around with a mini doll version of herself was cute; why wasn't she more curious as to why it looked like her? Wasn't she a bit creeped out by that? Also, the Other Mother fixes her a fruit salad in the shape of her face, while the Other Father plants an entire garden in her image! She's not creeped out by that? Why did the animators put these scenes in the movie? If Coraline thinks it is normal for other people to make things in her image; doesn't that make her seem a bit narcissic?
* Scenes left out. One of my favorite and perhaps the scariest scene in the book was Coraline's encounter with her Other Father in the basement. This scene was replaced with a short scene of Coraline encountering him in her face-garden. The scene in the movie is kind of forgettable, while the scene in the book is pure nightmare fuel, in which you are torn between sympathizing with the Other Father and wanting Coraline to beat him and run. It was the best part of the book, in my opinion.
* Line left out. The line the Other Mother says pertaining to her own dead mother is left out of the movie. The edited scene in the movie is still very creepy, however.
* What. WHAT?! The scene and the line I mentioned above could have been cut from the movie to make it more suitable for younger children. However, if that were the case, then why on earth were Ms. Spink and Ms. Forcible (two of Coraline's neighbors) almost naked during their stage performance? This makes no sense at all. I wouldn't bring a young child to this movie simply because of this scene. For older viewers, this scene just doesn't fit; the movie is supposed to make you uncomfortable-scared, not uncomfortable-cannot-unsee.
* Wybie. His character was not in the book, but that was okay with me. It had been a while since I'd read the book, and I didn't notice he wasn't a canon character. Maybe he (and Coraline's friends from her photograph. She never really mentioned any old friends in the book!) was added in the movie to make Coraline seem like less of a loner? Hm, I thought her being a loner made her character seem all the more unlike a 'normal' kid, someone who'd be more likely to get bored and go exploring. But anyway, Wybie stays a side character in the movie; he really doesn't change the story all that much.
* Final Scene. It goes down a bit different in the movie; its a lot more fast-paced. I kinda think the scene was a bit more chilling in the book.
* If you've enjoyed the book, the animation and music of the movie will bring you right back into Coraline's pages of subtle writing and horrifying illustrations. I think most people who watch this movie will enjoy it, just be aware that some scenes aren't kid-friendly before viewing.
*The lyrics to this song are in a made up language called Esperanto. The more you know!
[location]: Flights of Fancy
[music]: Come Sail Away // Styx