After releasing two stop-motion features for Disney, Henry Selick teamed up with a company without much of a reputation. A small studio reorganized after being purchased by Phil Knight (Nike’s owner and CEO), adopting the new name of LAIKA Studios. After bringing in Selick, the new studio developed stop-motion features, the first of which would be based on a novel by gothic writer Neil Gaiman. The resulting film, Coraline, would earn LAIKA’s first Oscar nomination and become a breakthrough animated hit.
Thirteen years later, Coraline makes its debut on 4K thanks to a collaboration with Shout! Factory. The physical media and cult film distributor has crafted an exciting release of the landmark stop-motion feature. In addition to the 4K disc, the package also includes a Blu-Ray edition of the film. The Limited Edition Steelbook release also includes art from César Moreno.
Coraline is now presented in HDR and Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos. Travis Knight (CEO of LAIKA and director of Kubo and the Two Strings) and VFX artist Steve Emerson (Oscar-nominated VFX coordinator for Kubo) deliver the restoration. Both artists worked on Coraline as part of its crew under Selick.
About the Film:
From Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach)) and based on the novella of the same name by author Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Coraline is a wondrous, thrilling, fun and suspenseful adventure and the first stop motion animated film ever to be conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3-D, unlike anything moviegoers had ever experienced before. A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life – only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to save her family and get back home.
Voice Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., and Ian McShane. Produced by Bill Mechanic, Claire Jennings, Henry Selick, Mary Sandell. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Written for the screen and directed by Henry Selick.
DISC 1 (4K UHD):
- NEW 4K Restoration
- NEW Dolby Atmos 7.1 Mix
DISC 2 (Blu-ray™)
- Inside LAIKA – Discovering The Characters Of Coraline Featuring Rare Test Footage
- Inside LAIKA – Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA’s Animation Team
- Character, Concept Art, And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Galleries
- Audio Commentary With Director Henry Selick And Composer Bruno Coulais
- The Making Of Coraline
- Original Featurettes
- Deleted Scenes
- Feature-Length Storyboards
Review of the Release
One of the aspects of Coraline that continues to age wonderfully is its commitment to world-building. Each aspect of the world was meant to create emotion and depth, and the restoration only further strengthens this choice. The tactility of Coraline comes shining through, highlighting the technical feat it represented in 2009.
Like the companion release of ParaNorman, this Coraline release highlights the unique place of stop-motion animation in 2009. Many of the features of this disc focus on Selick, the visionary director of Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. This allows the Coraline special features to highlight how the medium was once executed and how Selick helped kickstart the now essential stop-motion studio.
Playing this film in 4K only helps us focus on the details. Each moment feels tactile, and the use of dolls within the world of Coraline creates an interesting meta-element that’s impossible to ignore while watching the film. Perhaps the most important aspect is how the visuals help us focus on the subtle blues, purples, and whites that define the film. Using UHD only further adds definition. The soundscape is even more terrifying in 7.1 Dolby Atmos as well. Just as it did in 2009, Coraline is an unbelievable work of visual splendor.
There are plenty of features to sort through, including a fun commentary featuring Selick. The full-length storyboards deliver once again, showing the unique design evolution of the characters throughout the film. Hearing Selick’s insights into directing actors present its own exciting tidbits, most notably when discussing Teri Hatcher. Each featurette showcases the struggle of making a film in stop-motion, but the enduring legacies of these films become undeniable.
Like the ParaNorman release, the Coraline Steelbook release also receives a booklet with additional concept art. This booklet also includes an essay from Peter Debruge, a critic for Variety and founder of the Animation Is Film Festival.