When Coraline Jones and her parents move into a house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by forests and foreboding hills, there is something immediately unsettling about the place. When she discovers a secret tunnel, much like Alice in Wonderland with a touch of Being John Malkovich, we fall straight into a child’s dream – intoxicatingly magical yet with more than an undertone of menace. More
Henry Selick’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas) stop-motion animation is beautifully crafted – the real puppets and lighting effects smother the film with thick atmosphere. 3D technology allows for seamless immersion into the fantasy world – a highlight is when Coraline first opens the magic door and watches as the tunnel extends before her into the distance.
The musical score, by Frenchman Bruno Coulais, is exceptional. It’s a combination of European classical (recorded by the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Choir of Nice) and experimental electronic that creates an eerie tone where everything feels fantastical yet slightly uneasy.
Neil Gaiman’s original story doesn’t quite leave us with a climax to top the set-up, but closes with the feeling of waking from a dream. This animated fairytale is visually dazzling, fun and weaves an atmosphere somewhere between magical and creepy.
Coraline gives us an adventure to invigorate the imaginations of young and old. Hide