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Coraline: LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray Review

“Coraline” is LAIKA’s first and still best film.

Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, 2009’s “Coraline” is a stop-motion animated feature that revolves around the titular teen girl who moves to a secluded apartment building with her all too busy parents. Bored and needing to entertain herself, Coraline explores her surroundings and the building itself. She discovers a bricked up door which she soon learns leads to a sort of fantastical parallel world filled with creatures and button-eyed people (including ‘Other’ versions of her own parents). It all seems too good to be true. That’s because it is. Coraline soon finds herself learning that the ‘Other’ mother is not who she seems and that she has a nefarious plan.

At this point, it’s safe to say that writer/director Henry Selick is a master of the stop-motion animation medium. His attention to detail, unique style, world building, and imaginative storytelling is in a class of its own. The now cult classic “Coraline” is a perfect showcase of his work. Although Neil Gaiman’s novel may be the basis for this cinematic project, Selick brings this deranged world to life visually. Everything from the eccentric characters like Wybie and the acrobatic Mr. Bobinsky to each individual set (which has its own “copy” sets) is brimming with life. Really, it’s a prime example of how to do an adaptation. 

The story itself is also nothing short of captivating. I don’t want to give away what all happens, but it’s a dark, creepy and mysterious tale about relationships, love, dreams, control, freedom, the bond between parents and their child, and connections. 

Everyone in the entire voice cast delivers excellent work here especially Dakota Fanning (Coraline), Teri Hatcher (who is at her best here pulling double duties as Mel and The Other Mother), Keith David (The Cat), Ian McShane (Mr. Bobinsky), John Hodgman (Charlie), Robert Bailey Jr. (the quirky and awkward Wybie), and Jennifer Saunders (April) and Dawn French (Miriam). Ok that may have just been nearly everyone in the cast but trust me when I say it’s great ensemble work.

Note: The 3D copy is not included with this release. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Aside from some flickering, this newly remastered transfer is a nice upgrade from the past releases. I found the colors and the image quality to be sharper.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The voice acting, music, and sound effects sounded as clean as can be.


Extras:
* A booklet with an essay by film critic Peter Debruge.
* DVD copy
* Feature-length storyboards
* “Coraline” trailer
* Nearly 9 minutes of deleted scenes with intros by Henry Selick.
* Character art, concept art and behind the scenes still galleries.
* “Voicing The Characters” cast featurette.
* “Creepy Coraline”- A featurette on the creepy elements.
* “The Making Of Coraline”- A 10 part extra that covers the story, voice cast, puppets, character and art designs, sets, and more.
* “Inside LAIKA: Discovering The Characters Of Coraline”- A new 10 minute featurette on the stop-motion animation process and bringing characters to life visually and audibly.
* “Inside LAIKA: Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA’s Animation Team”- A new 7 part extra that looks at The Beldam, Mr. Bobinsky, The Cat, Coraline Jones, Wybie Lovat and ‘Other’ Mother and Father puppets.
* Commentary by Henry Selick and Buno Coulais.

August 30, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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