Be careful what you wish for! Neil Gaiman’s 2002 graphic novel by the same name was turned into a stop animation film in 2009 – Coraline
This stop animation was different from older ones with the fact that it was designed to be viewed in 3D as well as 2D. This film was directed by Henry Selick.
Coraline was made as a stop animation through the use of puppets. The puppets were arranged for each frame; then the frame is exposed. The puppets are moved slightly by hand, then another frame is taken. Overall it is a very laborious process and for this 100 minute film, assuming they shot 12 frames a second, they ended up with 72,000 frames for the whole film.
The plot takes place in Ashland, Oregon – the Pink Palace Apartments to be exact. Coraline (voice of Dakota Fanning) has just moved there with her parents. Her parents are very busy with the likes of a gardening catalogue they are putting together and are thus giving her little attention and so she begins to explore her new surroundings. Through her explorations she meets all her very interesting neighbours including Wyborn Lovat (voice of Robert Bailey Jr), who is a talkative and awkward grandson of their landlady.
Coraline finds a doll in her room that looks exactly like her. She also finds an oddly shaped key and lock; however there is just a brick wall and no door. But, come night time, she discovers this is no longer, and when she goes through this door she enters into another world which appears just like her previous one, except that now her “other” mother and father are tending to all her needs and have as much time for her. Another difference is that instead of eyes, her “other” parents have black buttons instead.
When she goes to bed that night she wakes up in the morning in her normal house and after telling her story from the night before, she is warned by her neighbour that she may be in danger. There were stories about children who have gone missing in the house, never to be seen again.
However she still goes back to the other world and when she has to make a decision to stay forever she chooses not to as she starts to see the sinister side of her “other” mother.
Coraline has to play a game with her “other” mother (who has now started to transform into her real monsterous self) in order to get free, as well as to free and protect others that are in danger.
This is a gripping film and has what I believe to be one of the scariest villains in animated history.
A hint if you see this in 3D; wait until the credits are over – they really show off the 3d effects after them!