DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Coraline - DVD Review

Visually, Coraline is truly an impressive extravaganza to behold. Even with the technological capabilities offered by today's cgi animation, there's just something more rich and pure with stop-motion animation. Everything feels, well... real. Even when watched in the 2-D format (the film was the first stop-motion feature to be conceived for 3-D), it's hard to not be wowed by the spectacle alone. It's as if you can reach out and feel the textures of the fabrics, or the smoothness of the shiny faces. If only the film's many other aspects were as equally enjoyable.

The movie, adapted from the wildly popular Neil Gaiman book of the same name, follows 11-year old Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who moves into an old Victorian house with her parents. Her mom and dad (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman respectively) are writers so caught up in their tight deadline to produce a gardening catalog, they have very little time to help Coraline adapt to her new environment.

CoralineThe only things Coraline finds to occupy her time are a crudely fashioned doll, a wise-cracking little boy named Wybie (Robert Bailey, Jr.), and a mysterious door in one of the walls of her house that opens up to a bricked-in portal. When she awakens one night to find the passageway open, Coraline soon discovers that it's actually an entrance to a parallel universe that's strange, yet oddly familiar. The world she discovers is, in a way, a mirror image of the house she lives in. Only in this one, her Other Mom and Other Dad are cheerful people with plenty of time to fix her delicious meals and cater to her every whim. It feels like the perfect place for a neglected child to live forever... except that everybody has large black buttons in place of their eyes. Coraline ignores the warnings from Wybie and a feral cat (Keith David) both of whom can move between the worlds - that things might not be as they seem in this newly discovered environment. Coraline learns of the house's frightening legacy... but it might be too late escape.

Director Henry Selick has put together an unquestionably beautiful piece of motion art that tickles the senses and tantalizes the creative soul. But once the freshness of the luscious visuals begins to wear off, we can't help wondering just who the film was made for. It gets a bit too dark for the little ones when Coraline's alternate world begins to break down. As her real parents are captured, the musical score - mostly by They Might Be Giants - gets spooky, and the environment turns really dark and creepy... a webbish nightmare that might have the toddlers heading for the lobby. But for adults, the story is a little too tame and simplistic. Sure, we realize it's all a fantasy born from a child's overactive imagination and contains morals about the grass not always being greener on the other side. But on the entertainment scale it's often a bit flat and lifeless. A beautiful spectacle for sure, but once it's all said and done, our emotional tanks just don't feel full.

Component Grades
3 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
3.5 stars

DVD Details:

The 2-disc edition of Coraline comes with 4 pairs of 3-D glasses (not that the 3-D aspect of has been improved for the home theatre audience since the release of My Bloody Valentine on DVD) for those who wish to see it that way; however, the film seems much crisper viewed at home on 2-D version. The U-Control feature is always a fun feature and absolutely innovative for the digital home theatre fan and truly takes the art behind Coraline to a whole new level.

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD Spanish: DTS 5.1 Surround French: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; audio commentary.


Commentary - Feature-length commentary track with Henry Selick and Bruno Coulais.


  • The Making of Coraline (35:56) - a grossly involving (much more than it needs to be) making of Coraline that features interviews with creator Neil Gaiman and director Henry Selick on the process of the animation and character development behind the film.
  • Voicing the Characters (10:46) - a grossly involving (much more than it needs to be) making of Coraline that features interviews with creator Neil Gaiman and director Henry Selick on the process of the animation and character development behind the film.

Deleted Scenes (8:50) - deleted scenes with introductions by Selick.

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging - includes a digital copy of the entire film.



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