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Coraline - Collector's Edition
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I got the DVD of "Coraline" today and had to look at it. The 3D is based on the Red/Green system - not polarized. The upshot is that although the effect is there it picture is dim/muted by the glasses. I found it hard on the eyes. Also, the effect is less pronounced than in the theater. All in all, the 2D version is better for home viewing.

That said - it is a great movie!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Henry Selick, best known for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) and "James and the Giant Peach" (1996) brings his talent for stop-motion animation to this adaptation of Neil Gaiman's children's novel "Coraline". Coraline (Dakota Fanning) is an 11-year-old girl whose family has just moved into an apartment in a slightly dilapidated Victorian house. While her parents are busy finishing up work on a deadline, and it pours rain outside, Coraline is bored. Then she discovers a small door in the living room that has been papered over. At night the door leads to another house like hers, only better, with more attentive versions of her parents and perfected versions of her eccentric neighbors. Her Other Mother (Terry Hatcher) invites Coraline to stay in the other world, but there is high price to pay, and Coraline begins to suspect something sinister.

Stop-motion animation was the choice for this film because it ages well. I couldn't agree more. "Coraline" looks fantastic and distinctive. It leaves a strong visual impression. I was reminded of "The Mascot" (1934), an early example of stop-motion that is as strong today as it was 75 years ago. I have not read the novel "Coraline", but I understand that the film has made significant changes, including that addition of a prologue in which we see mechanical hands creating a doll of Coraline. I'm grateful for that sequence, as it contains some of the film's most memorable animation. Like so many children's stories, there is a lesson imbedded in the tale. The film's tagline is "Be careful what you wish for". In the Other World, everything is exactly how Coraline would like it, for herself and for others. But it makes her value her real family all the more.

There has been a lot of discussion about whether "Coraline" is actually a children's film. It is not graphic; there is no blood or guts. There are disturbing ideas which are enhanced by creepy imagery. I would caution that it is probably too scary for children under six. For 6-10-year-olds, it is an entirely individual matter. The book on which it is based is fantasy/horror intended for 9-12-year-olds. Some children like to be scared, and if your 8-year-old is one of those kids, "Coraline" might be just the thing. If your child is sensitive, you may not want to cope with the nightmares. It's a nice film for older children, because it encourages children to be bright and independent and never condescends to them. It doesn't have the thematic sophistication that makes many Pixar films equally suitable for adults. But "Coraline" is visually interesting enough that it won't bore adults either.

The DVD (Universal 2009 single disc edition): The single disc edition has the 2-D film on one side of the disc and a 3-D version on the other. It comes with 4 pairs of glasses for viewing the 3-D. This isn't the same 3-D as was in movie theaters. That technology is not available for home viewing, so this version is the old blue-red 3-D. There is an audio commentary by director Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais on the 2-D side of the disc. This is a constant, information-packed commentary. Selick talks about the changes he made to the book, the look of the real world versus the other world, and a lot of technical information about filming and working with the puppets. Coulais joins the commentary near the end. Subtitles are available for the film in English SDH, Spanish, French. Dubbing available in Spanish, French.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Question: What would you get if Alice Liddell married Jack Skellington?

Answer: CORALINE

The animated film, CORALINE is a deliciously eerie movie adaptation of the novel by Neil Gaiman. This dark odyssey starts with a young girl's boredom and ends with her being appreciative of her own backyard. Both figuratively and literally. It is a well-told tale reminiscent of Through the Looking Glass, The Wizard of Oz, and Hansel and Gretel. What I particularly liked about the tale was that CORALINE's parents are alive and remain so from beginning to end. Yeah for living parents!

When first we see CORALINE (not Caroline, as she has to remind folks quite often) (voiced by Dakota Fanning), she is bored. She lives in an apartment with her mother and father, both of whom work from home but can't give her the attention she craves. She tries visiting the old Vaudevillian ladies who live upstairs as well as the crazy old man who trains the mice, but she just doesn't understand them. Huh. Then she finds the key and the door, and the passage beyond that's sometimes there and sometimes not. The old man says that the mice have a message for her: don't enter the passage. If only CORALINE had listened.

What CORALINE finds beyond that passageway is what makes this story interesting. It's what makes all classic fairytales interesting. Temptation, morality, determination, and heroism, all wrapped up like a spooky burrito with a side order of eerie dipping sauce.

CORALINE is a dark movie, full of black magic and creepy critters. Brilliantly directed by Henry Selick (who brought us THE CORPSE BRIDE, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, and THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS) and Michael Cachuela, CORALINE is fast paced and contains just the right amount of spookiness. My 12 year old LOVED this film, and my 4 year old liked it, too. She did not have any bad dreams, and she completely understood that it was not real. The animation is unique and very moody - perfect for this film. The voice talent is all outstanding, but truly you are more interested in this weird and wonderful story than you are the voices.

CORALINE is a MUST SEE movie for 2009 and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by my entire family. We had a great time watching it together. CORALINE might not be typical family movie night fare, but it worked for us.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Every so often, you see a film so special, so different, you can't help but count the moments until the film officially becomes a Classic. Such is the case with "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas". Tim Burton, working with director Henry Selick, conceived a story so unique and original, most people were instantly transfixed and captivated by the new characters and the magical quality of the film. The film has rightfully earned the title of "Classic", enjoying limited re-release every year near Halloween. Disneyland transforms the Haunted Mansion every year, inviting Jack Skellington, Zero, Oogie Boogie and Sandy Claus to make appearances throughout the venerable ride. A couple of years ago, the film was converted to 3-D, and now it is a very different experience to see the film in theaters. It is, of course, also available on DVD. Burton and Selick followed "Nightmare" with an adaptation of Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach". It's very good, but not really a classic.

A number of years later, each of the director's made a new entry in the stop- motion animation genre. Tim Burton, working with another director, created "Corpse Bride". And Selick chose to make the live action - stop motion hybrid called "Monkeybone" starring Brendan Fraser and Whoopi Goldberg, among many others.

Both of these films lack a crucial element making the material flawed, at best, and downright awful at worst. What is that crucial element? The other half of the team. In "Corpse Bride", Burton's unique visual style is fully evident and the film is stunning visually. This is really no surprise for a Tim Burton film. All of his films have a stunning, fable like visual quality. But like all of Burton's films, "Corpse Bride" really falters in the storytelling. "Monkey Bone" is, quite simply, a dreadful film. Selick clearly can't guide the human actors as well as he can a puppet and all of the acting is dreadful. Considering the stop motion animation is relegated to a supporting role in this film, the worst part of the film takes center stage.

Now, both directors are returning with new stop motion animation projects. Selick returns as writer and director of "Coraline", based on a book by Neil Gaiman, and presented in 3-D. Burton teams with Timur Babmenetkov, director of the Russian films "Night Watch" and "Day Watch", to bring us "9", a film that appears to be about robot figures trying to rebuild a post-apocalyptic Earth. It will be released on 9-9-09.

"Coraline", written and directed by Selick, is as close to a magical film as I have seen in a number of years. I would definitely recommend seeking out a theater showing the film in 3-D. The film doesn't contain a lot of 3-D tricks, hands and objects flying at the screen so the audience will have the effect of the item flying at them, and 3-D isn't necessary to enjoy the film, but it adds such a depth to the story and the visuals that I can only imagine the film would be completely different without the 3-D glasses. The backgrounds and characters seem to belong in the real world and we get to experience a little of this thanks to the addition of 3-D.

Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) and her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman, "The Daily Show withy Jon Stewart") move to a new apartment in a dreary old building in the middle of a large field almost completely devoid of both color and plant life. Bored, Coraline tries to get her parents to go on a walk, or to play with her, to do anything, But they are both so busy writing their new gardening catalog (and each hates touching dirt) that they start to get upset with her for being a nuisance. She decides to explore the house and the grounds and soon meets Whybie, the grandson of Coraline's new landlord. As she continues to explore, she meets the elderly British sisters, Miss Forcible and Miss Spink (Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders), former vaudevillians, who live upstairs and a former Russian gymnast, Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane, HBO's "Deadwood", "Deathrace") who lives downstairs. She soon finds a small door behind some wallpaper. It's locked, but her annoyed mom is only too glad to open it, anything to stop her daughter from nagging. As Coraline peers inside. She finds a passageway to a parallel world. In this new world, her mom and dad are very attentive and loving, seeking to entertain her all the time. The apartment is bright and colorful. The gardens are overgrown with colorful flowers. A little Scottish Terrier (Keith David) talks. It seems like everything in this new world is designed to make her happy. All Coraline has to do to make her stay in this world permanent is to adapt to it completely and make herself look just like everyone else. And everyone else has black buttons sewn in where their eyes should be.

"Coraline", based on a book by Neil Gaiman, has a dark, fairy tale quality that really helps to set it apart, to make it a little special. All of the best animated films and the best fairy tales are at least a little dark. All of Roald Dahl's children's books have a slightly sinister quality to them; parents die leaving children in strange circumstances or children find escape in slightly sinister adults. Gaiman borrows this quality, bringing a darkness to Coraline's world, both literally and figuratively. Coralline has both of her parents, but she maybe wishes she didn't because all they seem to care about is work leaving her to entertain herself.

When the Jones family moves into their new apartment, Coraline is shocked to find everything so dark and gray and devoid of character. The entire apartment building appears to have seen no sunlight in decades, everything in covered in a gray pallor. When she goes outside to explore, an overcast sky prompts her to wear a rain slicker. But the area looks so devoid of life we have to wonder if the sun has taken a permanent vacation from the area. When she meets Whybie, he doesn't seem to realize there is an alternative because he is so used to the barren landscape.

As in any fable, there has to be an alternative, either good or bad. And in "Coraline", the alternative initially appears very good to the little girl. She follows a secret passageway and ends up in a complete copy of her apartment. It is exactly the same in every way except that it is colorful, furnished with comfortable, homey furnishings and her parents seem particularly intent on making sure their daughter is having fun. In other words, she recognizes it because it is the same, but she is shocked because it is so completely different. She also finds that animals talk in this new world, plants grow and seem to perform and her mom seems particularly interested in making sure her daughter is happy. But as the poster for the film says, "Be careful what you wish for".

Selick and his team do an amazing job of giving each character a distinctive look and personality. And this attention to detail continues throughout every aspect of the environment and story. As Coraline explores the family's new apartment, she looks very large in hallways and small and insignificant in some of the huge, high ceiling rooms. It is a nice way of illustrating how foreign the environment is to her, how much she feels like an alien in these new surroundings.

The large Victorian that houses her family's new apartment is also particularly dark, spooky and unwelcoming. So when Coraline enters the alternative world and everything is painted in deep, but vibrant colors, and everyone seems so welcoming, she dives into the new world.

Not only are her parents very different, but her neighbors are also different. Whybie tries to warn her, but soon, he appears with buttons as eyes and seems much more complacent. Coraline finds a theater in the building and watches an extended performance by the British sisters, the highlight of which is a reenactment of "The Birth of Venus" by the two women and one of the very buxom sisters appears wearing nothing but some pasties and a very small bikini bottom.

"Coraline" has much to discover that I could go on for pages and pages, but that would ruin a lot of the fun. It is better for you to discover it on your own.

I will say that I think "Coraline" is a great film for families with kids over a certain age. The film has some dark elements that might scare some younger kids and even though this is an animated film, if you take very young kids to see it, you'll only have to leave the theater early when they get scared. I know some parents have difficulty taking their kids to films like "Curious George". If this is you, stay away from "Coraline". But if your kids are, oh, at least 10, this is a great choice for the whole family because there is something for everyone to enjoy and delight in.

I hope this film quickly earns the title it deserves allowing it to be enjoyed by generations to come.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Comment: I was not expecting to like this movie... only wanting to check out the technical aspects such as the "stop motion" and 3D qualities. This movie was so well done, with particular attention to the details that I was blown away (in a good way). After I watched the "extras", again I was blown away with the tremendous amount of work that goes into making one of these stop action movies... it is incredible. The story and the situations became spooky... (button eyes), and may be a little intense for younger children. For "mature" viewers... whether you watch the 3D version or "normal" version, I think you are in for a pleasant surprise.
3D Performance: The 3D was "stellar" on this disc. As good or better than at the theater. Most Blu-ray 3D discs have a problem with "convergence" best explained as "stereo ghosting" to objects in the background. It can be as little as 2% up to about 20%. This movie was absolutely perfect. This is the disc I am now using for my "golden master" of 3D perfection. I am now asking: "If they can do such a perfect job on this movie... why not all 3D movies"?
Disc Performance: This disc performed perfectly. No aberrations of any kind (audio, video, 3D or skipping).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
It was everything I wanted and more. Comes with 4 pairs of 3D glasses and two copies of the movie in 2D and 3D along with all the extras. Perfection. A feast for the soul! A love and a must-have! GO BUY NOW! You won't regret it! =)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
In case you're confused by Amazon's mislabeling of this product, as I was, this version (ASIN: B004BLTNJI) IS the 3D Blu-ray, which, like all 3D Blu-rays, will also play in 2D. It's not the one with paper glasses--you need a 3D TV to watch this one in 3D. The second disc is a bonus disc, and it's a standard DVD. If in doubt, check the product info. Is it ASIN B004BLTNJI? Then it's this version.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 23, 2009
Coraline is a nice film for young teens. The story is moderately interesting and quirky -- although the ending wraps up too quickly and too neatly, and has the feel of a "collect the items" video game. No matter. It provides a nice balance of creepy scares (that never get too creepy), irreverence (including an obese old lady with enormous breasts and pasties prancing about), and absolutely beautiful visuals (including a phantasmagorical tree frog that pops out of a pitcher plant). Some of it might be a little to intense for the eight and under crowd -- including the threat of having needles thrust into your eyes -- but don't underestimate the ability of children to roll with the punches on this sort of thing. Traditional fairy tales were just as gruesome, if not moreso.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2009
Verified Purchase
As a big fan of stop-motion animation (using physical objects), any time a stop-motion film gets wide distribution I celebrate. Simply put, stop-motion animation is my favorite film making medium. I did it as a kid and I appreciate its unique place in the world of film art today. Unlike 2d cell animation (Disney style), 3d stop-motion animation seams to be finding a place in the computer driven world of feature films. Though not specifically advancing the art of stop-motion animation, Coraline dutifully keeps it alive for all the right reasons.

WARNING: RISK OF SEVERE GEEK JUICING BEYOND THIS POINT!!! PLEASE WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!

STOP-MOTION = CREEPY
If you want a fantasy to be creepy, inject a little stop-motion and you will be successful. If you look back at prominent films that employ Stop-motion it becomes clear: Corps Bride, Nightmare before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Wallace and Gromit, the Curse of the Were Rabbit, Chicken Run and everything Ray Harryhausen did. Stop-motion usually equates to creepy or fantastic. Most fans of the technique would agree that it's the slightly jerky and awkward movements that contribute to the surreal and eerie feel that is so effective in these films. "Coraline" is a very creepy film and even more so for employing stop-motion.

TAKING A STEP BACK FROM "CORPSE BRIDE"
In my humble opinion "Corpse Bride" was the best feature film done entirely in stop-motion. As the first film to use digital still cameras to animate 3d objects, "Corpse Bride" set the standard for character expression, meaningful movement and Stop-motion artistry. "Coraline" takes a slight step back from "Corpse Bride" in its animation technique. Things don't move quite as smoothly. Characters don't have the same sense of weight or expressiveness. All of that aside, "Coraline" is still an excellent piece of art and I enjoyed watching it despite not meeting "Corpse Bride" standards.

MOVING A STEP AHEAD OF "CORPSE BIRDE"
Where "Coraline" advances the art of film making may not be in stop motion particularly, but rather in its hybrid technique use. "Coraline" may well be the first film to combine stop-motion with CGI and very effectively in my opinion. Many people revile CGI due to over-reliance on it by many in the film industry. Very often films start to look like video games. In "Coraline" CGI is used strictly as a background device. Some might call this "cheating", but I can't imagine how this film could be achieved as effectively without it. As much as I love stop-motion, CGI has its place and this was a creative place to use it.

ACTORS WHO DON'T SING
"Coraline" is unique for a stop-motion film in that there are no extraneous musical numbers in the place of conversation. That does not mean there is no music at all, it just means that the music occurs when it might in reality: While someone plays the piano, in a theater, and at the Circus. I was taken aback when the characters broke out in song during "Corpse Bride". I never expected it and it took a couple of viewings to get used to it. In Coraline the music was natural and unobtrusive. Though I've never heard Dakota Fanning (Coraline) or Teri Hatcher (Mom 1 and Mom 2) sing, I'm not disappointed I haven't yet. They both did excellent work here with Hatcher being the surprise of the day. She personally made the "Stepford Wives" look downright inviting. I don't want to take the time to talk about all the actors, though I should mention all involved make significant contributions.

WHAT ABOUT THE STORY "GEEK-MIAS"?
I enjoyed the story quite a bit. The question is, will you? Here's how my family received this film.
WIFE: she doesn't like being reminded of her own mortality, so she was not too thrilled with a story that has dead children in it. She thought the movie was ok but didn't like the subject matter.
SON: as a sensitive 6 year old, he was somewhat frightened by it. He liked the format and the fantasy, but was less than thrilled with the bugs and scary stuff, same as my wife.
DAUGHTER: She liked it. As a 10 year old, she related a lot to Coraline because she's close to the same age and has awful parents just like Coraline... ...wait, did I say that? Regardless, I've raised her to enjoy scary stuff so she was with it. She thoroughly enjoyed it.
ME: I love stop-motion and the story was original enough to keep me guessing. There were dead children, so peril was well established. There are plenty of quirky (crazy) characters and plenty of creepy stuff too, so I was well satisfied.
THE 4 YEAR OLD SITTING NEXT TO ME: "Mommy, I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN!!" I guess she didn't like it. That warmed my heart.

LIKE THE CHILDREN OF "HAMLIN", I'M HOOKED
Though not reaching the heights that "Corpse Bride" did, "Coraline" immediately went on my DVD wish-list after leaving the theater. Seeing it in 3D was really not important and actually a distraction. Seeing it without the glasses is fine. The story is dark like many fairy tales and harkens back to the "Pied Piper of Hamlin" which creeped me out as a kid, so your kids might be a little disturbed. For fans of stop-motion, it's a reason to smile.

-Story...............4 Stars
-Animation..........4.5 Stars
-Characters..........4.5 Stars
-Family Appeal...3 Stars

Total.....3.87 Stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
This film is a showcase of craftsmanship in every regard. Ignore any reviews speaking negatively of the low-tech anaglyph 3D version, the story and polish of this film is 5 star all the way, even if you were to watch it B&W 320x480.
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