Welcome to The Twilight Zone for kids in another Henry Selick production, Coraline. The audience will see childhood fun and frolics take on a sinister edge and bringing the characters to life are Dakota Fanning as Coraline with Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman featuring as her parents. Henry Selick uses his famous stylistic way of film animation making this piece of work instantly identifiable.
In the land of the Pink Palace Apartments, that Coraline and her family can now call home, you find the rise of all things supernatural and weird. Being in the ‘writing’ game means her parents move where work takes them; think Military style but not as extreme. A new home, and parents that are too occupied with work to make time for her proves difficult to cope with, more so for an only child. Left to her own devices she explores the new land and soon comes across the only other child in the vicinity, Wybie, an odd but bright young lad. Shocked that she has moved here, as the area only attracts adults, he now has a partner in crime despite Coraline’s reluctance.
Depressed and frustrated with life in her dreary, rundown new home, Coraline soon begins to wish that circumstances were different. Perhaps life could be more about her, activities, and fun. In her ideal world she would have friends to play with, parents that cooked delicious meals and showed an interest in her development and life. Instead she had been dealt the hand of cards that involve loneliness, until the discovery of a small locked door. During the day it stays bricked up, only in the evening it tunnel out to a whole new world. A parallel world to the one Coraline currently coasts along in.
This tunnel links her living room to a living room in the exact same apartment, seemingly connecting back to her house. How deceptive this is. In this realm the Pink Palace Apartments are friendlier, their tenants exciting and interesting. Her parents make the most notable change, and importantly become humorous and loving. Life is there to enjoy – something Coraline has not experienced until now.
However in a Henry Selick production things are never as they seem and despite being introduced to this thrilling new lifestyle, her “new” family are odd in a deceptive way. One request from them is to change her eyes to buttons – just as they have.
In Coraline, a seemingly fun-filled film, darkness lurks. Consistent in the style of Henry Selick and his coalition of writers and producers. Childhood dreams and lives pan out very differently to the normal “Disney-fied” animation of contentment and happy endings.
Another reason to be careful what you wish for.