Coraline, a Neil Gaiman novella, published in 2002, was released as a 2009 stop-motion animated horror movie – written and directed by Henry Selick. The film was made with the permission and collaboration of Gaiman.
The film tells the story of Coraline Jones, a 11-year-old girl who moved with her parents to a new town in Oregon, who discovers an idealized parallel universe behind a secret door in her new home, unaware that it contains a dark secret.
Coraline: the movie (2009)
When Coraline moves to an old house, she feels annoyed and left behind by her parents. She finds a hidden door with a bricked-up passage. During the night, she crosses the passage and finds a parallel world where everybody has buttons instead of eyes. There are also two considerate parents, and all her dreams are coming true.
When the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay in her world forever, the girl refuses and finds that the alternate reality where she is trapped is only a trick to lure her.
How the movie differs from the novella
In short, in the movie, Coraline is quick to accept the new world that the Other Mother has created for her, finding it much more colourful and enjoyable than her own dull life. In the novella, Coraline is mistrustful right away. She knows something is wrong and quickly uses her brains to figure out what is actually going on and work her way out of it.
Most of the major variations came from the terrifying moments and details of the novella. Whereas the movie is both whimsical and magical, the book is much darker.
23 Fun facts about Coraline
(1) Ever wondered how the enchanting tale of “Coraline” came to life? Well, it all started with a spark of imagination from Neil Gaiman’s daughter, Maddy. She wished for a story featuring a girl just like her but with a thrilling twist: discovering a magical door to another realm within her own home. Talk about a creative family!
(2) Those button eyes of the Other Mother and Other Father are undeniably eerie, right? Here’s the scoop: Neil Gaiman’s inspiration for those unsettling buttons came from a conversation with a friend about just how spooky buttons can be. Now, they’re one of the most distinctive and chilling elements of the tale!
(3) Get ready for a wild ride through contrasting worlds! In “Coraline,” our heroine’s real world is a mundane landscape of dullness, while the Other World dazzles with vibrant colors and thrilling experiences. It’s a brilliant reminder that sometimes, beneath perfection’s facade, a hidden, darker reality may lurk.
(4) Lights, camera, action! When it came to voicing the characters in the film, they enlisted some star power. Dakota Fanning lent her voice to Coraline, while the versatile Teri Hatcher not only voiced the real mother but also the enigmatic Other Mother. Their performances added depth and complexity, making the movie even more captivating.
(5) The magic of stop-motion animation! To bring the enchanting world of “Coraline” to life, a dedicated team spent over a year meticulously crafting miniature sets and characters. Can you imagine the patience and artistry required to make every detail truly magical? Ever wondered how those Coraline puppets came to life with such lifelike expressions? It was a meticulous labour of love, with each puppet taking several weeks of painstaking work. These miniature marvels were meticulously detailed and artfully articulated, boasting an impressive range of expressive movements. The result? Every moment in the film was a masterful piece of artistry.
(6) Neil Gaiman’s dedication knows no bounds. He wasn’t just a passive observer during the film adaptation; he rolled up his sleeves and got involved. He even penned a novella inspired by the screenplay, showing his unwavering commitment to preserving the essence of his book on the silver screen.
(7) Hidden messages abound in “Coraline!” Dive beneath the surface, and you’ll uncover a captivating theme. The act of sewing buttons onto Coraline’s eyes serves as a powerful symbol, representing the dangers of conformity and the risk of losing one’s unique identity. It’s a vivid metaphor for the perils of surrendering individuality to the allure of uniformity.
(8) Awards galore! “Coraline” isn’t just any story; it’s a masterpiece that’s earned its stripes. Neil Gaiman’s novel secured a triumphant trifecta with the Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards. And when it hit the big screen, it soared even higher, with critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. Talk about an award-winning journey!
(9) Hold onto your seats because “Coraline” didn’t stop at the book and the movie. In 2009, it made a spectacular leap onto the live stage. MCC Theater in New York conjured the mesmerizing world of Coraline in a gripping stage musical production, adding yet another captivating dimension to explore.
(10) The cat, oh, the cat! Within the captivating world of “Coraline,” this mysterious black feline takes center stage. It serves as a multifaceted character, guiding and guarding our young heroine. But beware, it’s a symbol of ambiguity, blurring the lines between friend and foe, adding an intriguing layer of complexity to Coraline’s adventure.
(12) “Coraline” is not just a name; it’s a spellbinding fusion of “Coral” and “Caroline.” But this isn’t mere coincidence; it’s a deliberate choice that weaves a captivating spell of duality around our heroine. It’s a gentle reminder of the intricate dance between two worlds that Coraline embarks upon, where her identity and destiny are beautifully entwined in the enchanting tapestry of her name.
(13) Deciphering the mysterious lyrics of Coraline’s spine-tingling soundtrack has become a delightful puzzle for many. Yet, believe it or not, amidst the eerie sounds that might resemble an arcane language, it’s all just a delightful mishmash of nonsensical words that don’t hold any hidden meaning. Here’s a quirky tidbit for you: among the eclectic choir belting out these whimsical gibberish phrases, there was an actual singer named Coraline. But here’s the twist – she had absolutely zero connection to the Coraline character or the book! Sometimes, the universe just tosses in a dash of whimsy for the sheer fun of it.
(14) To bring the Other World’s surreal grassy expanse to life, the production team embarked on an astonishing endeavour. They adorned this enchanting realm with a staggering 1300 feet (almost 400 meters) of faux fur. It’s not just about visual splendour; it added a tactile dimension, inviting you to immerse yourself fully in the captivating world of “Coraline.”
(15) Brace yourselves, folks! “Coraline” isn’t just an ordinary film; it’s one of the longest stop-motion animated films ever made. Capturing each frame with intricate puppets and sets demanded an astonishing amount of time and effort, almost three years in total. But as they say, good things come to those who wait!
(16) Unlock the secrets of “Coraline!” In this enchanting world, director Henry Selick and his team wove subtle messages and symbols throughout the narrative. One intriguing example is the recurring appearance of the number “113,” a cryptic nod to Neil Gaiman’s childhood home address. Get ready to peel back the layers of this mesmerizing tale!
(17) Foodies, get ready to drool! Even the tiniest morsels are works of art in “Coraline.” The production team embarked on a culinary odyssey, crafting mouth-watering, true-to-life miniature food for the characters. Every dish was meticulously crafted for an astonishing level of detail and realism. Can you say “deliciously enchanting”?
(18) Get ready for an animation revolution! The filmmakers employed a ground-breaking technique known as replacement animation to capture lifelike expressions. It involved crafting multiple faces for each character and seamlessly swapping them out frame by frame. The result? An extraordinary level of emotional depth and realism that adds a captivating dimension to the film’s enchanting world.
(19) Dive into the magic of the web! To promote the film, an enchanting interactive website was conjured into existence. It beckoned fans to explore Coraline’s world, inviting them to immerse themselves in her home and the mesmerizing Pink Palace Apartments. It was a captivating experience blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
(20) Endings with a twist! “Coraline” offers two unique endings—a book ending that leaves readers pondering and a movie ending that adds a touch of hope. It’s a testament to the versatility of storytelling, where the same enchanting world can wear different masks, depending on the medium through which it’s experienced.
(21) It’s a global enchantment! The title of “Coraline” transforms as it crosses borders, donning new garments to resonate with diverse audiences. In some Spanish-speaking realms, it becomes “Coraline y la Puerta Secreta,” emphasizing the mysterious secret door. It’s proof that stories can shape-shift and intrigue, no matter where they’re told.
(22) Hidden within the tapestry of Neil Gaiman’s literary creations is a jewel that shines brighter than most: “Coraline.” It’s a work that has captured not only our hearts but also the heart of its creator. Neil Gaiman has openly embraced “Coraline” as one of his favourites, forming a profound connection to the character Coraline herself. This affectionate bond between creator and creation adds an extra layer of magic to the story, making it a cherished gem in Gaiman’s illustrious repertoire.