Reading Coraline makes it easy for the first time readers to relate to her character when they think back to their current or past adolescence. Most people would admit to times in their young lives when they were relentless pessimists and complainers, who acted bored and coughed up attitudes on a daily basis. Everyone could share Coraline’s plight when they had felt that there was nothing to do in a new house and were reluctant to meet new people. Viewers and readers alike have also felt a special connection between her family and their own.
Children always think about what the perfect mother would be like, and parents also try to be the best for their children. However, both age groups try to imagine something better. Unlike Coraline, no one had ever found a mysterious small door in the living room that led to an almost perfect alternate reality that catered to your every whim. The movie begins with viewers seeing a doll that resembles an African-American child floating into a dark house greeted by hands made out of needles.
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Accompanied by the traditional chilling soundtrack that follows all Tim Burton films the doll is refashioned. Two hands disembowel a doll and then reassemble it with needle and thread. While not the most warm and fuzzy scene in any cinematic form, what makes it particularly ghoulish is the feeling that you could run your fingers through the doll’s sawdust innards and touch its button eyes” (Clark). The doll is then dressed in a yellow raincoat and blue jeans. As soon as it is finished the mysterious needle hands sends the doll out the window where it floats out in space. This is where we find out that the doll replicates our heroine Coraline Jones.
Coraline, voiced by Dakota Fanning, and her parents, voiced by Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman, had just moved into the Pink Palace, it is a pink house spilt into floors as apartments in the woodsy area of Oregon. Coraline finds the house completely droll and far from the home and friends that she knew. While she explores her new home she finds, as Pratt writes: “A [Russian Gymnast, Mr. Bobinsky, who lives in the attic] tells Coraline that he's training his circus mice to play music, and Coraline finds him vaguely alarming, if only because she can't tell whether he's serious or joking.
Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two aging former actresses, live downstairs with a coterie of Scottie dogs. The ladies are happy to dispense tea, inedible cookies, and advice, and they read Coraline's tea leaves, which indicate that she's in danger. ” She meets Wyborn, voiced by Robert Bailey Jr. , as Ebert describes, a “young hunchback whose full name is Wyborn, and it doesn’t take Coraline long to wonder why his parents named him that. ” Wybie had found the doll that looked just like Coraline in his grandmother’s trunk and gave it to her.
Little did Wybie know, he had given her the doll that was created in the beginning of the film, that was made by the feared Beldam, a witch. She also meets a very aloof cat that turns out to be one of her few allies in her greatest times of danger. In the living room she starts to unpack her set of snow globes, looking fondling on a winter scene in Detroit Michigan, her last home. Coraline discovers that her doll who was sitting on a chair had moved behind a box. As she retrieved the doll, it was found resting against a tiny door with a key hole on it.
Coraline begged her mother to find the key that would unlock it. Her mother reluctantly obliged and makes Coraline promise that she will stay out of her mom’s way if she did this favor for her. Coraline replies yes, eager to see what was behind the door. Her mother shuffles through keys in a drawer, picking one whose handle end was in the shape of a button. As fast as Coraline’s heart rose, it sank. There was nothing behind the door but brick walls. Later that night Coraline had been awoken by a mouse that lead her to the door, when she open it and found a long tunnel with a light at the end.
Excited for the adventure to come she crawled down the tunnel that, to her surprise, opened right into her own living room. Now though it looked like her real living room, everything was brighter and had a more welcoming atmosphere. Coraline was lured by the smell of real home cooking when she discovered her mother in the kitchen.
Pullman said, “When she discovers a sinister woman there, who looks a little like her mother but has eyes that are big black buttons, the matter-of-factness of the woman's response when Coraline says "Who are you? " is both disarming and terrifying. "I'm your other mother," she says. Coraline finds out that she has other version of all the residents including her parents in the Pink Palace. Mr. Bobinsky, is a very entertaining circus ringleader with synchronized mice that are able to perform fantastical acrobats. Ms. Spink and Ms. Forcible became active and energetic acrobatic performers on a massive stage where they took Coraline to partake in swinging from high wire swings above the crowd of terrier dogs below. Even Wybie, her newest friend is a double that mysteriously doesn’t talk. The Other Mother told Coraline that she felt she would enjoy him more that way.
This perfect world that she finds changes her entire perspective on the life that she knew on the other side of the door. Her real parents were busy working for a plant publishing journal, while her other parents were tentative, caring, expressive, and just plain fun. But Coraline learns eventually that even though her other home seems perfect, there is something very peculiar and dark that lurks beneath the button eyes of all the people she meets. Button eyes are a great symbolism in Coraline. These buttons represents not having a soul. Coraline’s other mother turns out to be this cruel creature, he Beldam, who lures children through the secret door.
She creates this perfect world for the child, giving them everything they wanted, promising to love them, and the only way a child could stay in this wonderful world is to have their eyes sewn shut and replaced with buttons. Once Coraline is told of this offer by her other mother, she realizes that her other mother’s intentions are hardly loving or parental. Collins writes, “Coraline meets the ghosts of several other children who had been kidnapped hundreds of years ago, and she realizes that her both her body and spirit are in danger. Coraline discovers that the black cat that has been lurking around the premises is able to talk to her in the other world.
He gives Coraline clues for her to realize that everything is not as it seems. To viewers he would be related to the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. The cat tells Coraline that in order to set her parents free and the souls of the three children that she must challenge her to a game. Vejvoa said, “She has to muster the strength and courage to confront and defeat her monstrous Other Mother is she’s to rescue her real parents and get back to where she truly belongs.
Her Other Mother cannot refuse any game as long as she thinks that she can win. Coraline is clever enough to come up with a game where she must look through the house and garden to find all the souls and eyes of the children before the lunar eclipse or she will give up her soul to the Other Mother. Coraline faces three dangers in three wonders that her other mother had created for her. Each of the children’s eyes were trapped in three different objects. The first soul was found in the garden where her other father had sacrificed himself for her to retrieve the soul.
The second soul was found on the stage of the two actresses. The third was found in the dark and eerie mice circus tent. Once every soul was collected, Coraline had only to find her parents, who were trapped in a snow globe.. It came to the final task, defeating the witch. What used to looked so much like her real mother stood, a skeletal, towering, spider like woman that was anything but motherly. Coraline tricked her other mother to open the small door between home and the created world. As fast as she could react, Coraline tossed the cat at the Other Mother and she made a run for the door with all of the souls.
The Other Mother broke free from the cat and chased after her through the tunnel. Coming through the door Coraline used all of her strength to shut it completely. But the Other Mother had her hand stuck then torn off from her wrists landing on the floor. The hand had disappeared, and the souls were set free. Although the souls and her parents were free the Other Mother’s needle hand was still at large and wanted the key to the door at all costs because there was only one. Everything seemed normal until Coraline decided to throw the key to the door away.
She trekked to the well where she approached the opening of the well. Out of nowhere the Other Mother’s hand leaps out to grab the key, but since it is on a string wrapped around Coraline’s neck, she was being choked until Wybie had crushed the hand with a huge rock. The hand is tied within the blanket with the string holding the key and is thrown down the well. After vanquishing the Other Mother, all of the lost souls of the children were set free. The movie ends with Coraline and her parents hosting a garden party in which they had finally started planting and creating a beautiful atmosphere.
Here all of her neighbors, Wybie, and Wybie’s grandmother come to gather. Coraline tells Wybie’s grandmother of what happened in the house and how she saved her twin sister’s soul. Coraline is no longer as pessimistic or as unpleasant when she started her adventure. The movie ends with a chilling song of children voices that makes viewers get the shivers when they recall the scariest moments. This film was hailed by all age groups, and more so towards the adult crowds. According to Ebert, “this is a movie for people who know and care about drawing, caricature, grotesquerie and the far shores of storytelling.
In short, you might care little about a fantasy, little indeed about this story, and still admire the artistry of it all, [it] gets under our psychic fingernails. ” Coraline is certainly a darker version of a family film when compared to Disney, but that is what makes it much more intense and rememerable. Cinema reviewer, Kernion said: “It isn't gory or excessively violent (certainly not as much as Prince Caspian), but there are some pretty frightening threats, and the peril that main characters often face can seem real and intense.
It's similar in tone at times to Spirited Away -- if you think your kids can handle the Miyazaki film, they should be fine with Coraline. ” However, not all viewers and critics were impressed with the big hit movie. Jim Vejvoda, said, “a story where a mother plucks out kids' eyes and replaces them with buttons or sews their mouths shut might be a wee bit too torture prone for some members of toon-going crowd to stomach. ” A movie blogger, Sean, said, “Coraline really clicked for me.
It takes a while to get rolling, but once the twist is revealed and we understand the true extent of Coraline’s predicament, it’s hard not to be completely absorbed. The storytelling is on par with a Pixar film, or even Guillermo Del Toro’s critically-acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth. ” When comments were all said and done about the actual story, critics, and movie goers alike were both please and displeased when it came to the 3-D presentation of the film. 3-D films have become very popular in our recent movie viewing trend, however Henry Selick, the movie director, doesn’t want audiences to focus on the 3-D.
According to Clark, “3-D is just a means to end, to showcase the medium he loves to work in: stop-motion animation, in which the hands and every other part of the characters in the movie are manipulated frame by frame to achieve movement and expression and to tell a story. ” Selick has previously been honored for directing, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Coraline racked up a total of $60 million dollars for the stop motion animation to come to life via 3-D.
Coraline has entranced and horrified both readers and movie watchers through the eyes of a once very unpleasant girl who learned the cost of being careful what she wished for. Neil Gaiman’s way of putting a twist on this story is what makes Coraline so chilling and mesmerizing. Coraline’s story is truly frightening, and Gaiman goes to great lengths to forge an ‘other’ mother world where every aspect of our lives is perverted and twisted into the macabre” (Collins). He teaches us that even though children, even adults, who think that the grass is greener on the other side, don’t know what they have until they lose it.
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