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YMMV / Coraline

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    Both works 
  • Complete Monster: The Beldam, otherwise known as the Other Mother, from both the book and movie, is a sinister temptress who lures children into her otherworldly lair with the promise of a better life. The Other Mother spoils them and subtly draws them more and more into the world, eventually convincing them to sew buttons onto their eyes to stay in her realm forever. Once they do, however, she murders them and locks away their souls so as to replenish her energy. She has repeated the process with three children (in the movie, this includes the sister of the owner of the apartment the gateway between worlds is in), and tries to do the same to the titular Coraline. Upon her defiance, the Other Mother kidnaps her parents and forces her into a horrifying game of finding the dead children's eyes. She also casually disfigures her own servants when they resist her, turning the Other Father into an abominated slug in the book, and a pumpkin in the movie. It doesn't help that in the book, the Other Mother also claims that she killed her own mother, as well. Once Coraline wins the eyes, the Other Mother still attempts to catch her, and sends her severed hand into the real world to pursue Coraline once she escapes her clutches. In the film, she also forces the Other Father into attacking his "daughter," and she murders the Other Wybie after he had helped Coraline escape. Throughout both works, despite her claims of how much she loves the children she lures into her trap, it's clear that she sees them as nothing more than toys that she disposes of after she's bored with them. The Other Mother is one of the most twisted villains in children's literature and stands as a prime example of being careful what you wish for.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Be afraid of buttons. Be VERY afraid.
    • One of the quotes from reviews on the back cover of the book says, "You'll never look at buttons the same way again." The quote was from Terry Pratchett.

    Book examples 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Other Mother. Some say her only desire is to eat children's lives; others say she's a Woobie who truly wants to love and be loved but just can't control her hunger.
    • Alternately, she might not see the difference between loving children and eating their lives. Just like how she doesn't see the difference between loving someone enough to know what's genuinely best for them, or giving them everything they want.
    • Is the Other Mother's first transformation an intimidation tactic or her giving up on trying to look nice? Or is her starvation taking the ability to disguise herself away from her, and she's losing control of her form? The second transformation, being offscreen and without theatrics, would indicate so, but it's not entirely clear.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The audiobook version has a weird song sung in the middle of chapter 5. It's related to the plot of the story, but comes out of nowhere, is the only one, and is never touched upon again.
  • Genius Bonus: The Other Mother is most likely one of The Fair Folk of British folklore, who were said to kidnap and sometimes devour children. The portal between worlds looking like a little door is one of many fairy world gateways, and the stone with a hole in it is most likely an adder stone said to help see through fairy or witches' illusions. The mushrooms surrounding the old well is a fairy ring, where not-so-good things happen to those who step in it, so Coraline using it to trap the hand was a very smart move on her part. Finally, one of the dead children being revealed to have butterfly wings and a love of eating flowers suggests that the Other Mother doesn't just hunt human children.
  • Iron Woobie: Coraline. Unlike her movie counterpart, she never whines and always tries to keep a decent attitude despite the things she goes through.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Full of distinctly Freudian terror, but the true creepiness of the book isn't always apparent to kids, who might see it as just a book about scary monsters.

    Movie examples 
  • Awesome Music: Bruno Coulais' score for the movie is stunning, particularly the opening theme, which really does evoke a sense of the world through the eyes of a child.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Wybie. Some of Coraline's Character Development is changed or removed completely in order to focus on him. Most notably, he comes to Coraline's rescue at the last minute in the ending; in the book, Coraline didn't need saving, because she was setting a trap the entire time. Others however, including Neil Gaiman find that he was a necessary character in order to make the narrative more fluid and to give Coraline someone to talk to, though he also disagreed with Wybie saving Coraline.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: MY KINGDOM-M-M-M-M FOR A HORSE!!!
  • Ear Worm: They Might Be Giants spend some time makin' up a song about Coraline...
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Other Wybie is insanely popular among the fanbase.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: More like "Everyone is Lenin in Russia", according to this article.
  • Friendly Fandoms: One has sprung up between this movie and Gravity Falls, ParaNorman, and Psychonauts. The four together make up a group dubbed the "Mystery Kids".
  • Genius Bonus: Going with the book's implication that the Other Mother is a member of The Fair Folk, her ability to transform things into something else (rats into mice, a pumpkin into the Other Father) is very similar to the glamour that Fairies use to lure humans. Leaving a doll behind when she takes a human also calls to mind Fairies leaving an inanimate object behind in place of the abductee. Said object also resembles the person stolen.
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Defied: Despite a girl having her name in the title, and remaining the focus of the advertisements, the movie still recouped its budget.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • HSQ: Breaks the record for PG-rated films.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Coraline. She's definitely justified in feeling neglected, but she really acts like a spoiled brat about it. The most glaring example would be how she gets into a huff over not getting a pair of gloves.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • ☻_☻
    • The official website has a section where you can add button eyes to pictures. Let your imagination runs free...
      • Real-life example: A contest was held on the official site, where winners would receive custom-made Nike Dunks sneakers, which are made to look stitched together with patches, feature big, black buttons on the sides, and the soles are blue with white stars, much like the shirt the Other Mother makes for Coraline.
    • Coraline's hat has gained quite a following too.
  • Misaimed Marketing: During the TV broadcast of the movie they aired an advertisement for a brand of dolls that have buttons for eyes. They also made real-life replicas of the "Little Me" doll, which would be a horrible gift to anyone scared of this film.
  • Narm:
    • The scene where Coraline finds the first soul/eye, specifically the Ghost Boy's dialogue. "Bless you, Miss, you found me! But there are two still lost." The cheery tone combined with the line itself makes it sound more like "Princess is in another castle."
    • "I hyave to go byack!" Somehow, Dakota Fanning's line delivery got away from her a little on that one.
    • Coraline during the mouse circus show: "It's wonderful, Wybie!" If she's that excited, she shouldn't have to say it.
    • Coraline talking to her friends in the Other World picture has some brief Totally Radical slang that just feels awkward.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The doll. Think about it. A foreign object that transforms and moves around your house when you're not looking. And it turns out to be the Other Mother's spy. Which implies the Other Mother can see through buttons. Sleep tight. Button-eyed dolls and "made like me" dolls will seem scary after watching it.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: While the DS game mostly averts this, the game released for the PS2 and Wii plays it straight. It does a decent job of recreating the Pink Palace, but is otherwise filled with dull mini-games, complete with unskippable win/lose animation. Enemies inexplicably inhabit the Other World before its sinister nature is revealed, and huge chunks of the film are omitted, including the entire existence of the Ghost Children, and the Other Mother's hand retrieving the key. In addition, the film's soundtrack for both versions is replaced by a generic spooky fare, although the latter got the better end of it with an orchestrated soundtrack. Positively Dreadful did a review on the game as well.
  • Toy Ship: Coraline and Wybie. Most of the time, it seems this trope is the main reason why the latter was added to the film version of the story, even though Word of God states that it was because he didn't want Coraline to be lonely and talking to herself. It's still painfully obvious on Wybie's side, though.
    • And that the producer Bill Mechanic wanted Selick to put in lots and lots of kids. Adding Wybie helped Selick to satisfy that need as well.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Done on purpose. Those eyes... or rather, buttons for eyes...
    • Not to mention the Other Mother's skin in her final form.
    • Also, there's the fact that the stop-motion in the other world is ever so slightly off, especially during the circus scene. It's hardly enough to be noticed, but enough to be unnerving.
    • For the shots down the tunnel to the Other House, the two cameras used to get a 3D effect were set a bit farther apart, warping the perspective enough to make you realize something was up. In other words, when you looked down the tunnel, you were seeing it through a pair of eyes that no human can have.
    • When Coraline is searching for the lost children's souls, and she goes into Bobinsky's apartment, Bobinsky is seen dashing around in the background. Anytime you see him, particularly as he's winding around the rafters, it seems like he doesn't have bones, which is the case as he's made entirely out of rats. The effect is profoundly unsettling.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: About halfway through the movie, try to remind yourself that the movie is stop-motion and not CGI. No, you can't.
    • Many people who saw the movie in its initial release were not impressed because they didn't realize it was stop-motion!
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Yes, despite being terrifying, this movie is appropriate for kids, so long as they can handle a good scare every now and then. Oddly enough, the ABC Family airing slaps it with a TV-14 rating.
  • The Woobie: Coraline, the ghost children, Other Father, Other Wybie, and arguably the real Wybie.


Example of: