Movie Spotlight: Coraline

Welcome to a little corner of the site we like to call, Movie Spotlight! This is where we take the time to showcase some films from the past, present and maybe even from the future! Okay, that’s a lie, there aren’t any films from the future here. We do have candy and an assortment of cheese though – so sit back, relax and take a gander. You might discover a film you never knew about for your Netflix or Showmax watchlist!

The story…

While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery until Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and the rest of her parallel family try to keep her there forever. Coraline must use all her resources and bravery to make it back to her own family and life.

So, what makes this film so great?

The absolute best way to describe this film to someone who hasn’t seen it would be to compare it to Alice In Wonderland. All the elements are there. Girl travels to an alternate dimension, girl meets fantastical creatures, girl gets in trouble, girl sorts out her shit. There’s even a weird supernatural sort of cat running around. Every character in this film can be cross-referenced to a character in Alice In Wonderland. I digress though, it’s not just an Alice clone. It’s a lot more than that.

In the film and the character of Coraline herself, we can see a little bit of ourselves. Coraline is always striving to be noticed by her parents and rather bored in her own world, so naturally, she seeks an escape. It’s a relatable scenario. We’ve all been there at one point or another. Adult or child. Sometimes the real world just doesn’t cut it, does it? Sometimes we’d like nothing better than to leave it all behind and find out just what lurks beyond that horizon we see in the distance. Sometimes we just want to take that leap in hopes of something better and more thrilling. An escape to somewhere better.

Coraline’s escape from reality is of course conveniently provided in the form of a tiny secret door within her new home, to which she soon finds the key and departs to an alternate world. In this other world she discovers everything she ever wanted including more pleasant versions of everyone she knows. The only problem is, when closely inspected, everything is actually off and more than a little wrong. Soon enough, Coraline wants nothing more than to return to her own world and her own parents but of course, doing so comes at a price.

Now, there are a couple of lessons in this film, intentionally placed lessons. The most loudly received of these lessons being that you should appreciate what you have. Deeper than that though, you find other less obvious meanings and other things to like about this little animation film. The more you look and the deeper you look, you find more to see and even more to wonder about.

The thing that makes me wonder the most is, is Coraline actually imagining everything? Is the cat some sort of god? Is the weird spider woman some sort of god? Or, on a darker tone, does Coraline in fact never escape the alternate world and is the entire ending of the film just another form of what she wanted? Is Coraline in fact trapped in the web, being drained of her life and soul? – Jeez, this movie really is deep. See? Told you. This is some good shit right here.

Coraline doesn’t exactly have something in it for all ages or even all viewers but if you appreciate the finer things in life, aren’t freaked out by the animation style and don’t mind weird Russian dudes or large breasted old ladies, you should give Coraline a try. It’s definitely one of my own personal favourite films of its genre. I’m guessing it might end up being one of yours too…

Grand Moff Morris
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Grand Moff Morris

You know, this was supposed to be my day off. But nooooooo. Instead, you got me out here dragging your heavy ass through the burning desert, with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute.
Grand Moff Morris
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