Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion 3D fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. Written and directed by Henry Selick, it was released widely in United States theaters on February 6, 2009, after a world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival. The film was made with Gaiman's approval and cooperation.
Coraline received universal acclaim and made $16.85 million during opening weekend, ranking third at the box office.As of September 2009, the film had grossed over $120 million worldwide. Coraline won Annie Awards for best music, character design, and production design and received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Animated Feature.
An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.
The film begins in another world, with a witch re-making a doll to resemble an 11-year-old girl. Coraline Jones moves with her parents from their home in Pontiac, Michigan, to the Pink Palace, a dilapidated mansion renovated into an apartment building in Ashland, Oregon, which is also occupied by retired actresses Misses Spink and Forcible, and eccentric Russian acrobat, Mr. Bobinsky. With her parents perpetually working on a gardening catalog and paying little attention to her, Coraline feels neglected and decides to explore their new home, meeting Wyborn "Wybie" Lovat, the grandson of the apartments' landlady who she repeatedly insults; while exploring, Coraline finds a small door only to be sealed off by a brick wall. That night, Coraline is awakened by a mouse and follows it to the small door, where she discovers a long, dark corridor in the brick wall's place. Coraline goes through it and finds herself in the Other World, a fantastical parallel version of the Pink Palace inhabited by doppelgangers of her parents, called the "Other Mother" and "Other Father", who strongly resemble her parents, but have black buttons for eyes. These beings prove to be warmer and more attentive than Coraline's real parents (particularly the Other Mother, who does everything she can to impress Coraline). Coraline falls asleep in the Other World, but when she awakens the next morning, she finds herself back in her old world.
Despite warnings of possible danger from her neighbors, Coraline continues to venture to the Other World at night to escape the doldrums of her real life, and is entertained by button-eyed "Other" versions of her neighbors, including a mute Other Wybie, a fun Mr.Bobinsky who runs a mouse circus and young Miss Spink and Miss Forcible who are great actresses. Back in the real world, while shopping for school clothes, Coraline asks her mom for mittens, only to be rejected. Angry with her mom, Coraline returns to the Other World. During her third visit, Coraline encounters a black cat from her own world (who has the ability to speak in the Other World), who warns Coraline of danger. He warns her that is place is not a "dream come true" and that the "Other Mother" is not a "mother" at all. She disregards his warnings until the Other Mother invites her to live in the Other World forever if she can sew buttons over her eyes. Horrified, Coraline pretends to be tired and hurries off to bed, only to find herself still in the other world when she awakens. Coraline attempts to leave by walking away from the house, only to be where she started. Coraline breaks in to the room with the door and finds the door to be blocked by the Other Mother. Coraline demands to return home and tells the Other Mother that she is not her mother. Enraged, the Other Mother transforms into a tall, slender, and monstrous witch, trapping Coraline in a small room behind a mirror. There, she meets the ghosts of three children who'd lost their eyes and souls to the Other Mother. They plead with Coraline to avoid their fate and request that she find their eyes, which will free them from their imprisonment. With the help of the Other Wybie, Coraline escapes to her own world, but finds that her parents have been kidnapped by the Other Mother.
Armed with a seeing stone (provided by the real Miss Spink and Miss Forcible), Coraline returns to the Other World and challenges the Other Mother to a game to find her missing parents and the eyes of the ghost children; she agrees to have buttons sewn in her eyes if she loses. Coraline uses her seeing stone to find the ghosts' eyes and outwits the twisted inhabitants of the Other World guarding them, ultimately with the help of the black cat. She also finds her parents (who are trapped in a snow globe), but the ghost children speak to Coraline through the eyes, warning her the Other Mother(who has decayed further into a spidery being with sewing needles for hands) will never let her go, even if she wins. Thinking quickly, Coraline tricks the Other Mother into opening the door to the real world and escapes through it, closing the door on the Other Mother's hand, severing it. Coraline finds her parents safe with no recollection of what happened and the ghost children at peace, but not long after they warn her the Other Mother will still try to retrieve the key. To keep the Other Mother from returning, Coraline intends to drop the key to the door between her world and the Other World down a water well near her house; the Other Mother's severed hand, however, enters Coraline's world and tries to steal the key. Wybie arrives to help her, and the two destroy the hand. They then drop the remains (and the key) down the well. With her parents done with their work and able to spend time with their daughter, Coraline holds a garden party with her family and neighbors, including Wybie's grandmother. Coraline plans to tell Miss Lovat (Wybie's grandma) her adventure and what really happened to her twin sister, who we now know was one of the ghost children. The movie ends with Coraline content with her new life, and the black cat looking to the audience, walking by a pole and disappearing.
Similarity to Alice in Wonderland
- Both Alice and Coraline enter a portal to get to "Wonderland/Otherworld".
- They both departed with a new sense of life.
- Talking cats; Cheshire Cat/The Cat.
- Dominant female antagonists, Red Queen/The Beldam.
- At one hour and forty minutes long, this is the longest stop-motion film to date.
- At one point in the movie, Coraline shows 16 different expressions in a span of 35 seconds.
- Mr. Bobinsky is wearing the Russian Hero Medal for Service at the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster on April 26, 1986. Which reads on the front "Participant in the clean-up campaign" The "4A3C" indicates "Chernobilskaya Nuclear Power Plant." This medal is unique as it is the only medal in the world awarded for participation in a nuclear clean up. That might explain his skin complexion and odd behavior.
- The Coraline shoot lasted over 18 months, following 2 years of pre-production.
- The face on the dollar bill given to the mover for a tip is director Henry Selick.
- There are 248 Scottie Dogs in the audience with Coraline and Wybie watching the stage performance.
- Mr. Bobinsky is Russian, but the flag in front of his door is Montenegran, with one minor difference: The real one has a lion passant in the centre, while Mr. Bobinsky's has a horseman.
- When Coraline firsts sees her father, she places the Coraline doll down on a box. In the shot, the Coraline doll's arm is hanging over the edge, but in the next shot, the doll's arm is by its side.
- When Coraline first looks at the picture frame next to her bed, the "3" from "at 7:30" is missing and "Coraline" is spelled "Coral1n3" on the depicted sign. In the next shot, when she holds the frame in her hands, it says "7:30" and "Coral1ne".
- Coraline's puppet has its legs extremely thin in the beginning of the movie, but when Coraline goes to Bobinsky's house to deliver his cheese the puppet's legs are thick and apparently "normal".
- When Coraline falls asleep on the picture frame, at first it is facing down, but when the shot changes it has flipped to facing up.
- When Other Father starts playing the piano, the piano gloves go on his hands while he is facing Coraline. After he turns around, the gloves switch hands.