7-in-7, Animated, Film Reviews, Week 28

Review 194: Coraline (2009)

Coraline - Berk Reviews

My life is divided into many fragments. The fragment I think I am most proud of is being a dad. I love my daughter so much and she is an amazing kid. So, when she asked if I would watch Coraline with her I couldn’t say no. She loves it and I’d never seen it. I actually enjoyed it very much. I think Coraline gets the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.

Coraline - Berk ReviewsCoraline is an interesting tale and awesome animation.

Coraline (Dakota Fanning) is unhappy with her parents, their new home, and the new neighbors. She finds herself in another world much like the one she left, but where everything seems so much better. She soon finds the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and her fight for survival begins.

Coraline - Berk ReviewsThe voice acting in the film is really great. Teri Hatcher plays Mel Jones and John Hodgman plays Charlie Jones. They are Coraline’s parents. They are a little bit neglectful and are extremely focused on work. This leads Coraline to wandering around and being unhappy. Robert Bailey, Jr. plays her friend Wyborne. Friend is a strong term, but Coraline does take a liking to him.

Coraline follows a mouse through a hole. Yeah, there are definitely parallels to Alice in Wonderland. That may be why my daughter likes it so much. The world Coraline finds herself in looks a lot like the one she left. The house is together more and her parents seem much more attentive. Yet, they all have buttons for eyes. Coraline notices it right away, but is soon lulled into a sense of security by the kindness she is shown. Initially, she awakes and thinks it was all a dream. She tells her mom about it who doesn’t seem to care. The story basically becomes a back and forth between the real world and the other world.

The animation styles from Nightmare Before Christmas

Coraline - Berk ReviewsThe film was adapted and directed by Henry Selick based on a book by Neil Gaiman. The film it has a Tim Burton vibe due to the claymation. Yet, he’s not attached to the project at all. The creepiness of the characters and art definitely is reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. It makes sense as Henry Selick directed The Nightmare before Christmas and Tim Burton was just the writer. A misconception I had made for many years. The animation is well done though and the characters have very interesting looks.

If you’re into the art style and Alice in Wonderland then this film will probably work for you. I enjoyed it well enough. My daughter seems to love it.


  1. Anthony (Brendan's friend, big fan of laika) midnight special haha

    That is the worse coralative review of coraline I think has ever been or ever will be written , just because a movie is stop motion doesn’t mean it shares a similarity with Tim burton … Tonally it’s completely different in every way , Alice in wonderland ? Where ? Did you even watch it, my daughter loves coraline as well so I’d like to see what your daughters opinion of it is and not yours, thanks …it’s called laika studios homy look it up and open your mind past Disney for your own good.

    • Jonathan Berk

      There are several elements similar to Alice. She follows a bunny to a strange world. Coraline follows a mouse to a strange world. The odd and marvelous things outside of the realm of the real world.
      The connection to Nightmare Before Christmas is the director. His style shows in both films. I’m sorry you don’t agree with my opinion. I don’t profess to be super knowledgable on animated films, but I’ll look into more of Laika studios. Is there a recommendation of theirs I should start with?
      Thanks for reading though.

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