Don’t go through the door- Coraline review

Becca Jolly, Managing Editor

Henry Selick’s 2009 film “Coraline” follows the story of Coraline Jones, a curious child who must save herself and her family from her “Other Mother’s” grasp. 

This film is a fan favorite for many, but did you know it was originally a book? 

Neil Gaiman released his horror novella “Coraline” in 2002. Considering it is written for children, it is very creepy and disturbing. 

I loved watching the movie and reading the book, but I noticed big differences between the two.  

The film opens with the Beldam tearing apart a rag doll and remaking it to look like Coraline. This scene is very creepy and sets the mood for the rest of the movie. Later, Coraline’s friend Wybie gifts her this lookalike doll saying he found it in his grandmother’s trunk. 

I will say, I love the addition of Wybie and the lookalike doll’s story line in the movie. In the novella, Coraline is only surrounded by adults, making her more mature of independent. I like that she has a friend in the movie (other than the cat of course). 

Speaking of the Cat, I liked him better in the book. I felt like in the movie he didn’t get the attention he deserved. In the book the cat is more sarcastic saying lines like “How fortunate I am, traveling companion of such wisdom and intelligence.”  

In the movie he just helps Coraline out with defeating the Other Mother with occasional comments here and there. 

I feel like the movie didn’t show the depth of Coraline and the Cat’s friendship. 

Along with the Cat’s attitude being changed, Coraline’s personality is completely different. In the novella, Coraline is kind and always greets her neighbors with a smile on her face (even when they call her Caroline). She enjoys speaking with Miss Spink and Forcible and listening to Bobinsky talk about his circus mice.  

Coraline is also quick to suspect something is wrong upon entering the tunnel to the other world, unlike movie Coraline who quickly accepts all the new things shown to her. 

The movie depicts Coraline as being ungrateful and mean. When told to go talk to Miss Spink and Forcible, Coraline calls them “dingbats”. She calls Wybie ‘why were you born’ and tries to guilt trip her mom after she wouldn’t buy her a pair of gloves.  

Movie Coraline does show that she is just a moody teen, but I feel like book Coraline is just more likable overall. 

Coraline’s game she plays with the Other Mother is different in the movie and book. In the book, Coraline must use her stone to find the lost children’s souls. During this game there is a disturbing scene in which Coraline must stab the other father’s eyes out to escape from a basement.  

In the movie, Coraline uses her stone to find the lost children’s eyes that were stolen from the Other Mother. After finding their eyes the children’s souls are freed. Instead of the basement scene, Coraline fights her Other Father, who is riding a praying mantis. This battle ends in the Other Father falling into a bottomless pit. 

I prefer the book’s ending over the movies. In the book Coraline uses her smarts to trap the Beldam’s hand in the well, after pretending to have a tea party. In the movie Wybie must come to help her, once again taking away her sense of independence.  

After comparing the book and movie, I can’t pick which one is better. Each one has a special place in my heart, and I will keep watching and rereading!