I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t know what I was getting to when I first watched Coraline back in 2009, as it came off as a weird looking film that reminded me of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas but even more odd (which makes sense seeing as Henry Selick directed both).
But once I got into it, I was hooked by the stop-motion animation and just the overall creepy feel and dark humor it gives off. As with The Boxtrolls, Shout Factory is taking studio Laika’s films and slightly fixing them up with this release that stitches up all sorts of fun for the whole family.
After having her life uprooted by moving to a new apartment with her parents, our young heroine Coraline (played nicely by Dakota Fanning) decides to explore the place as her workaholic parents (played by Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) do their thing. It doesn’t take long for her to meet some of her neighbors such as Wybie (Robert Bailey, Jr.) who becomes her odd friend, two strange neighbors that live below, and a Russian gymnast who lives upstairs (played by Ian McShane).
As if all of that wasn’t strange enough, Coraline soon comes across a mysterious door that leads to a freaky, parallel universe where it appears to be just like her own, but everyone there is odd. For example, her mother is normally busy and doesn’t have time for Coraline, but in the other world she’s sweet and kind. Soon the kind people in the other world begin to show their real intentions which turn out to be quite scary, and it falls on Coraline to get back to her world and escape the parallel one before she’s trapped forever.
As I did back in 2009, I had a great time watching this as it still holds up nicely and will continue to do so for future generations. Everything from the creepy atmosphere to the voice acting (gotta love the always great Keith David as the talking cat that helps Coraline) is spot on. It’s even more apparent thanks to a fixed up video bitrate that makes the visuals pop as much as they can on a standard Blu-ray (fingers crossed for a 4K release), and the Dolby 5.1 DTS audio from the previous release returns and sounds great.
There’s also some new special features such as “Inside Laika – Discovering the Characters of Coraline” and “Inside Laika – Revisiting The Puppets With Laika’s Animation Team” that feature interviews with some of the team that worked on the film as they discuss the characters, how they went about making them, giving them life and more. There’s also “Feature-Length Storyboards” that play to the film’s audio to show off how the final film was put together which is always cool.
There’s also some reused extras such as “The Making of Coraline” that goes behind the scenes of the film, and other features that go into creating the creepy atmosphere for the movie, the voice actors and how they voiced their characters, some deleted scenes, an image gallery and more.
Coraline is still a fun and creepy treat just as it was back in 2009 that families will enjoy, as long as they’re not freaked out easily. Things are even better this time around thanks to Shout Factory adding in some sweet new extras and fixing up the visuals, making this release the (talking) cat’s meow.