This is one strange film – and more than a little disturbing. “Coraline” is an animated feature that tells the story of a young girl that is trying desperately to engage her work-obsessed parents. As the family moves into their new home (a boarding house that houses 2 over-the-hill actresses in the basement and 1 looney circus performer in the attic), Coraline makes a startling discovery of a magical world through means of a secret little door. In this strange new world, Coraline discovers that she has an “other” family. In this magical new world, everything is exactly what Coraline would want her life to be. However, her “other” Mother turns out to be one of the most wickedly delicious villains I have ever seen in film!
Not enough can be said about the “other” Mother. The concept of buttons for eyes makes her inhuman in a very unsettling fashion. When you see her control of the world she has created, you will begin to appreciate the level of Evil of this villain. She reminds me of the Devil in many ways because of her ability to tempt folks by offering them what they “really” want. Just like the Devil though, she is foiled by those who see through these mirages. She also reminds me of Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s “It” because she preys upon children. This fact alone may be a consideration for any parent thinking their child might enjoy this film. Be warned: the principal disturbing element of this tale is that the villain of the tale eats children’s souls! Talk about a heinous monster! Add to her a spider-like design – something of which I am greatly afraid of – and you have the makings of a truly fearsome fairy tale villain.
I was thrilled by the storyline, namely because the main character is a strong-willed girl. She is smart, clever, and resourceful. She also makes plenty of mistakes. This helps make “Coraline” a lot more believable. That may sound a little odd, seeing how this is an animated story. However, I see inspiration in this tale from the writer’s level. Someone knows a young girl who is the inspiration for Coraline as a character.
Over all, the film is clever and different. I don’t recall ever having seen anything like this story before. Kudos to the writers on this one for that fact alone. Really, that is quite a feat in this day and age. The story is helped by the cast of characters that surround Coraline, especially the Black Cat (which I don’t remember it having a name in the film). The Cat is reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland”. The film also boasts a pretty imaginative score as well. That helps a lot too. It certainly is memorable. The film really is a gem of animation as well – which was done in a different style that I had never seen before. So, if that might appeal to you, you really should check this one out.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you; this film has a villain that is just downright CREEPY! You will never look at a button-eyed doll the same way again after seeing this tale!
…and that’s it for this edition of the REEL VOICE