Coraline (2009) movie poster

(2009) dir. Henry Selick
viewed: 01/22/10

This is the third time that I have watched Coraline (02/07/09 and 02/28/09 are my previous posts about it.)  Interestingly, in the now 8+ years of writing this Film Diary, I have only now seen two films in full 3x in that span (the other being the wonderful Buster Keaton film Sherlock Jr. (1924)).  And now, having purchased a copy of the Coraline DVD for my kids, I can imagine that becoming at some point soon eclipsed.

Quite frankly, I think that Coraline is an utterly fantastic film.  Beautifully animated, vividly and lushly designed, and a truly powerful and effective children’s story that is truly a timeless and powerful work that transends its production means, its “intended” audience, and anything remotely denigrating to cast off toward any animated feature.

Earlier this year, in my recap of 2009’s films, I personally favored it as “the Best film of 2009”, which I know is mere opinion and even more silly to cite oneself or one’s own opinion other than simply to re-state how awesome and wonderful a film this truly is.  And after watching it on DVD for the first time, despite not being a “big screen experience”, I’ve come to realize that it very well may be one of my favorite films.

Supposedly everyone has a “favorite movie” or “favorite book” or “favorite whatever”.  Typically speaking, I find it hard to distinguish what one of anything completely towers over all others to the point of being “my favorite”.  And I’ve typically hedged the bet by listing several favorites.  But, given such a thing, a small pool of favorites, which by some methodology of caprice, I have separated from other films that I think are completely fantastic, amazing, tremendous, perhaps powerful or moving or even brutal, one does come to realize that there is “something” that one has used to differentiate “favorites” from films I just “like” or “love” or what-have-you.

Whatever it is, I believe that Coraline is now one of my favorite films.  The only film that I have likened to it is another animated feature, Hayao Miyazaki’s amazing Spirited Away (2001), another film that is so much more than an animated feature.

God knows that come awards time, Pixar will rake in the American attention for animated films with its 2009 film Up, but I don’t even think that it was even the third best animated feature that I saw last year.  But even alongside the terrific films Ponyo (2008) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), I think Coraline as being something much more perhaps, something truly masterful and timeless.  A modern classic of a fairy tale, a vision about wonders and nightmares, the fascination of spectacles, the fears of childhood, and the darkness and treachery of the universe.

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