Below is my 1000 word review for the end of the second semester.
End of semester review, based on the theme of “home”
“How can you walk away from something and still come back from it?”
Coraline was originally known as a “horrific” children’s book written by Neil Gaiman and published in 2003. The book was not one for a light read, it was known that Gaimans stories and ideas had frightened many adults, his children’s books were not for individuals with uneasy stomachs. The book then became a film that was produced and released in the year of 2009, the film grew large popularity and became one of the most well-known children’s films during those recent years.
I wanted to look at the production of Coraline as it is a great inspiration for me, the work that was done to produce the film is unimaginable and the creativity and idea behind the film is one to be amazed by. The film is known as a “stop motion” animated horror film, meaning the development was done by hand moving all individual pieces to create the scenes, which in fact took a total of four years to produce. Written and directed by Henry Sellick who though this to be his first big feature film.
Coraline is a story based upon a young female (Coraline) who moves to a new home with both of her parents, known as the pink palace. Within this home she then discovers a secret door that is later able to take her into a different universe where everything is the same but better, the family dynamics are better as well as the food and atmosphere, however later in the film It is shown that the other mother has different plans for Coraline, turning this light hearted film into a sinister children’s story.
The story of Coraline is one based on home; however, the bigger picture of the film is much deeper than that. It displays the idea to children and young adults that even though you may want a better house, a better family dynamic or better clothes, when you get these things, they don’t turn out to be the things that you wished for. An example of this would be during the middle portion of the film, Coraline travels through the door and is greeted at the other side by her “new” and “better” idea of her home. On the other side the colours of the area are bolder and brighter, and during her entrance she then comes to meet her “new and improved” parents, the parents in question seem nicer but we later learn that it’s all a ploy, an act to entrap Coraline in the life that she thinks she wants, but then later comes to realise it to be nothing at all like what she expected.
I believe the mother to be a key character in the film due to her character development. At the beginning we can see the relationship that she has with Coraline, and it is not one to favour. The mother daughter relationship had turned stale due to a difference in opinion and wants. The mother is seen as very cold and standoffish as she does not engage in meaningful conversation with her daughter, but rather only speaks to her when she feels that it is needed. This dynamic is carried on until the later half of the film and only changes once Coraline returns home, to the real side of life. A quote that can show the true change of the mother daughter dynamic is one said by Coraline to the other mother, she states “YOU are not my mother”. This is a key quote in the film as it demonstrates the realisation that Coraline has, she comes to terms with the knowledge that her mother is her mother for a reason and no one can change that, not even someone she wished for.
As well as the mother, I believe the father is also a large part of the story and in some ways can be seen as overlooked or overshadowed by the happenings of the film and other more prominent character. Its in my opinion that the father possesses traits of depression and numbness throughout the film, referring to both the normal father and the “better” father. When we see the father on the other side of the door, the better side, he is cheerful and happy to be in corallines presence, which is a complete switch to the situation previously, however when the other mother then turns evil, the father also takes a drastic turn, the colours of the film turn dark and washed out and his face suddenly droops, almost stroke like. The dropping of his face is significant in portraying his emotion throughout the ending scenes as its clear he feels things so strongly that it quite literally changes his facial structure, causing a gaunt and ghostly like character.
To conclude, I believe the adaptation of Coraline is one to be acknowledged regardless of your age. It is a film that both adults and children can watch and projects a much deeper message than what can be expected. The film is about love, change, longing and selfishness, which are all attributes that everyone holds, and Coraline can help younger individuals grasp these ideas and learn to work towards a healthier way of thinking, and to realise that what you want is not always what’s best for you.