Wide Reading 6 – Coraline by Henry Selick

Coraline directed by Henry Selick, is a 2009 American 3D stop-motion dark fantasy film based on Neil Gailman’s 2002 novel Coraline. Coraline is about a young girl Coraline Jones who discovers a parallel universe, created by a evil witch who was spying on Coraline through a doll that she made to look exactly like it’s owner. Stop-motion is a type of animation in which puppets are posed in scene, then photographed for a single frame, then moved ever so slightly, then photographed again. Film are usually created with 100,00 or so frames. Stop-motion filming was also used to create movies such as Wallace and Gromit by Nick Parks and also used in The Night Before Christmas directed by Henry Selick.  

This film is very contrasting in it’s settings. In the reality world, it is ver dark and doesn’t have much colour, accept for Coraline and her clothes and there are always clouds in the sky or it is raining, made for this world to look unpleasing. The parallel universe, there is a lot of colour the sky is clear – that we can see. The house they are living in, also known as the Pink Palace, in the real world is very rundown, and always leaking, and the paint colour has faded and is chipping off. In the parallel universe the Pink Palace is up to date, the colours are bright. The garden in reality is really is dead and grey, and around there is a foggy forest making the area look unpleasant and scary, but in the parallel universe the grass is green and at the garden is well kept and colourful. However when Coraline start to disobey the other mother (the witch) the parallel word starts to become more and more monochromatic and dark, showing the true side of the parallel universe. When Coraline returns to reality after defeating the other mother, the real world appears more appealing, its more colourful and less spooky.       

The music in the film Coraline was composed by Bruno Couals. The films music is somewhat mysterious its always played in the odd key that makes us ver unsettled. In the opening scene we have what some would call creepy music, you can also here a low voice singing as well children singing. Its in a flat key, and played with lots of sharps making the music sound unsettling. There are also a lot of string instruments. Towards the end of the opening scene the low voice turns into a more feminine voice that sounds like the other mother’s – although we haven’t been introduced to the other mother yet, we know it is the other mother because, when we see the other mother the first time Coraline goes through the door, the other mother is singing the same tune as the opening scene. Through out the film the music is very unsettling with light strings and a weird sort of piano, then intensifies with the backing of drums and more dramatic sounding strings.  

I think the film was very good. Like The Nightmare Before Christmas directed by Henry Selick and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Coraline isn’t you usual gothic text, but it does have some gothic elements in it, for example, the foggy forest in the reality world, and the music that is used. I also like the use of stop-motion animation, the use of the stop-motion really went well with the film because, puppets like we see in the film, look like they are meant to have button eyes, which is what the other mother was trying to get Coraline to do, sew buttons into her eys.Overall it was a really good twist to a gothic genre.

Respond now!