Sunday, June 27, 2010

#6 - Coraline - 2009

Focus Features Coraline was the sixth movie in my animated week that I chose. Having only seen the first part of it on standard dvd before I thought I would add this one to my list since I have since purchased it on bluray (for $9.99 by the way, what a deal huh?) and go ahead and watch this one. A couple of interesting points. This is the only movie on my animated movie list that is not a Disney film and it is also the only movie on my list that has a 3D option. Since 3D movies at home are not the same as in the theater I stuck with the 2D version. Below is my detailed review.

This review will be a bit different than my previous ones and they might differ from blog to blog. Ive come to learn from my writing in these blogs that I can tend to get lengthy and just write about the story for the majority of the blog instead of just highlighting my favorite parts and what its like to me. So I will attempt to maybe shorten my reviews a bit and focus on my personal review and opinion and not necessarily speak about the movie in a scene by scene reference. Makes it easier on the reader as well so they don't get bored reading through it, with all that said Ill start.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Halloween type movies or anything creepy and weird, this kinda falls into both in my mind. I didnt get a chance to see this one in the theaters and it would have been great Im sure but Im glad I got to see it now and on bluray! The casting for this film was good and although there were no big name actors the ones that they had were good. Coraline was voiced by Dakota Fanning, both her Mom and other Mom is voiced by the Desperate Houswife herself Teri Hatcher, The Cat is voiced by Keith David who better known for his role in Men at Work back in the 90's but also for being Mary's Dad in There's Something About Mary. The other notable one's I would list would be Ian McShane (Deadwood, Death Race, and Tai Lung in Kungfu Panda as The Great Bobinski and Jennifer Saunders (the fairy godmother in the Shrek films) as Miss April Spinks. I know I know I know, your probably haven't heard of many of them but trust me their voices will sound familiar and they were great for their roles.

This movie starts with a doll being taken apart and then put back together. The dolls resembles the movies main character Coraline. Ive spoken about attention to detail in the past but this scene takes the cake. It even outshines the Toy Story Dr. Kevorkian looking guy cleaning up Woody, it was that good!! Coraline and her parents have moved to a desolate looking place and got an apartment which is half a house in the Pink Palace Apartments. The scenery and effects of this house and the surrounding area is amazing. We are introduced to the Cat early on and also Wybie (short for Whyborn). He is probably the quirkiest character in the film and his head tilt throughout is very unique and odd, I love it. Coraline is a girl who is bored as her parents who are writing a catalog for Garden Life pay little and sometimes no attention to her. She basically has to find her own things to do to have fun. Coraline does meet her weird and strange neighbors such as the Great Bobinski on the top floor who acrobat's around with his weird shaped body and Miss Spink and Forcible who live downstairs below. Obsessed with old type Hollywood and glitter these 2 are 2 for the ages and provide great comedy bits throughout. One thing that was especially odd was the hanging "angel" dogs who had passed but were stuffed so they could be cherished forever. Very creepy.

After finding a hidden door in the live room area of the house things start to change dramatically for Coraline. She enters into a room and a house that looks just like her's but everyone else looks different. This is where we are introduced to her other family in a parallel world, more noticeably her other Mother. As she realizes her other family pays more attention to her and makes more wonderful meals. During her trips to the parallel world Coraline enjoyed wonderfully delicious meals including a turkey dinner with a real gravy train and all and even breakfast for dinner one night, a personal favorite of mine! She also took in a theatrical show starring Miss Spinks and Forcible and also a mesmerizing Dancing Mice show with the Great Bobinski. I loved the flying cotton candy cannons and the popcorn machine in the Great Bobinski's place. In what was easily the most visually pleasing scene through the film Coraline goes out front and into the garden area where life-like plants dance and bloom around her. Her other father emerges on a grasshopper looking vehicle and Coraline jumps aboard and it and its helicopter like blades rise them from the ground and they view the garden from atop and the garden along with its pumpkin eyes and blue flowers all around display a vision of Caroline. This short but very quirky scene almost seems to have been made for bluray viewing. It was that amazing!!

As time goes and the movie moves further along and she alternates between real life and her "other" life in a way is becomes obvious that her "other" Mother is not as she seems. When a box of button eyes appear before her and she is asked to stay with her other family for good Coraline realizes things are dangerous for her and she must get back home. One thing that didn't change was the Cat who never had button eyes in the parallel world. He was protective and would eventually help her out. After learning that her other Mother is keeping her captive she desperately tries to find a way home. At first she fails but then when she succeeds she comes to learn something terrifying, her real parents are missing. She must go back and trick the other Mother into believing that she will stay there forever and in doing so try to find her parents. She also realized earlier in the movie that three children were taken a long time ago and in order to release their souls Coraline must find their eyes so she makes a game out of it with her other Mother and must find her parents. An exhilarating final 15 minutes of the film conclude with Coraline locating through adventure at every turn none the less, the three sets of eyes she needed and also after tricking the other Mother locating her parents in the Detroit Zoo Snowglobe. After almost being caught by the other Mothers hand (think mechanical metal spider looking hand) and eventually being saved by Whybie Coraline is safe and sound. The ending shows Coraline reuniting with her snow covered parents and being told they are going out to eat to celebrate. Then Whybie brings his Gma down to the garden where the Great Bobinski, Miss Spinks & Forible, and the Coraline family are working and all is well and ends happy, kinda like a Disney movie. haha.

My favorite character in this film had to be Whybie. I loved loved loved the attention to detail and the dark creepy scenes the best. The portal where she went from door to door was cool but especially scary when it was dark at the end filled with spider webs. There was so much visually to see that you almost couldn't see it all in the 1st viewing. The garden scene like I said before was amazing and the bike rides through the park were cool as well. One of my favorite scenes was the scene where all of a sudden fog filled the ground and was deep and thick. A curious Whybie searching for slug worms appears and visually it was awesome. I loved almost every scene. Overall I would easily give this film an A-!

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