Cinemaster Score: 9/10

Overall Review

It’s easy to see why Coraline is such a fan favorite. Every single detail in this film is made with so much care and innovation in mind. With its beautfiul setting, unique characters, and its ability to charm us with its dark story and writing. At every turn there is something new and exciting, making for a beautifully cohesive film that will be hard to replicate. In animation, it is near the top of the pantheon, with its amazing artistic direction and vision being fully realized so excellently. Coraline has set a standard for animated films and movies in general, with its influence still reverberating in cinema today. It is unquestionably a huge achievement in animation, and something wonderfully unique in its own way.

The Breakdown

Voice Acting; The voice acting in Coraline is top-notch, with the perfect emotion provided for each scene a character is in. While sometimes there is some over-acting from the less experienced actors, it is overshadowed by some excellent moments. The VA work isn’t the best part of Coraline, but it accompanies the film’s better parts nicely. Dakota Fanning (Coraline), who was relatively young at the time, holds her own well and adds great depth to her character in spite of her inexperience. So, while many may not remember this movie for its acting, there are some shining moments that push Coraline above many animated films.

Script; The script for Coraline is one of the best in any animated film. In every sense of the term “script”, Coraline excels. The tone created by the dialogue is tense and – at times – horrifying. The premise built in Coraline is unique and strays far from most other genres. The character building is great, too. It’s difficult to put a lot of how good the script for Coraline is into words, though. The narrative it has, the suspense it creates, the reality established – all due to quite a great script.

Characters; Coraline has some of the most unusual and memorable characters in any animated film in recent memory. Without a doubt they were lovingly crafted and made with immense attention to detail and depth. From Coraline herself to her alternate Other Mother and Father and the wonderfully enigmatic Mr. Bobinsky. Each have their own quirks, tendencies, and distinguishing characteristics that separate them from the average “kid’s movie” characters. They are flawed, layered, and completely original pieces of the film that shine brightly, and are sure to be remembered by many for years to come.

Direction; Henry Selick (Director) ushers in another amazing animated film to add to his résumé with Coraline. Selick is known for his marvellous stop-motion animated films and continues the trend here. He had great patience in working on Coraline for roughly 4 years. In Coraline there is quite a bit of separation from its source material as Selick took risks and made big changes in making Coraline a film, but was calculated in these decisions. It is hard to imagine a more perfect directional fit for Coraline than Henry Selick. Even though it had been years since his classics such as A Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, Selick proves he’s still got it with this fan favorite flick.

Story; The story in Coraline may be one of the greatest of any animated film out there. The premise it’s all based around is captivating to most any audience, keeping them fully indulged all the way through. The events are unpredictable and the scenes abstract. Coraline also has a dark tone to it, swaying the movie towards being more in the likes of the horror genre with its suspense and buildup of terror. Coraline also – while being based around a novella of the same title – is unique through and through. The concept of this specific version of an alternative world that is so purely dystopian (yet amazing at first glance), is fascinating. Coraline’s story is rich with emotion that is relatable for the audience in its real world roots. Yet, at the same time, it is filled with wonders of only one’s imagination, coming together to form something truly astonishing.

Enjoyment; There are many things to enjoy about Coraline. From its dark and twisted humor to its colorful characters and beautiful art design, Coraline is anything but boring. It maintains its pace perfectly and never loses its steam. Thanks to consistently entertaining scenes and creative twists, Coraline constantly finds ways to keep the viewer’s attention. Certainly this film’s eccentricity may be too strange for some, but it has a charming likeability to it that is hard to ignore. Nearly every scene is memorable and filled with easter eggs and call-backs to other films it draws from. It is also extremely rewatchable, but perhaps not for the youngest of audiences. Coraline is a great way to spend your time.

Personal Review

David: “I have grown with Coraline holding a place in my heart due to my younger brother playing it nonstop some nights. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as this movie is now one of my favorites. It is easily one of the first phenoms of modern animated films and (like a fine wine) will get better with age.”

JP: “At first, when I watched Coraline at a younger age, I dismissed it as some weird fantasy movie I didn’t like. But upon repeated viewings I realized just how revolutionary it was for the industry. Now I consider it one of the very best animated movies out there, and I hope more people will come to see that in the future.”

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