H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Coraline [Blu-ray]


(Henry Selick, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal

Video: Universal Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:36.238

Disc Size: 45,933,386,776 bytes

Feature Size: 20,697,643,008 bytes / 3D is 17 Gig

Video Bitrate: 16.78 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard box

Release date: July 21st, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1 Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3449 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3449 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit



English, English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• 2D and 3D versions with 4 pairs of 3D glasses
Audio Commentary by Director Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais
Three U-Control Picture-in-Picture Tracks; "Tours and Voice Sessions", "Picture in Picture" and "Animatics"
Featurette: The Making of Coraline (36:27 in HD!)
Featurette: Voicing the Characters (10:46 in HD!)
Featurette: Creepy Coraline (5:03 in HD!)
Deleted Scenes (9:26 in HD!)
My Scenes: Universal's bookmarking ability
D-Box Motion Enabled

Digital Copy





Description: Based on Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling book and helmed by The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, is the first high definition, stop-motion animated feature to be shot in 3D. In the film, a young girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) 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 other mother (voiced by Teri Hatcher) tries to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her stubborn determination, bravery, the aid of her neighbours and a talking black cat to save her real parents and some ghost children and to get back home.



The Film:

There are many scenes and images in “Coraline” that are likely to scare children. This is not a warning but rather a recommendation, since the cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing. As long as it doesn’t go too far toward violence or mortal dread, a film that elicits a tingle of unease or a tremor of spookiness can be a tonic to sensibilities dulled by wholesome, anodyne, school-approved entertainments.

Books, these days, often do a better job than movies of parceling out juvenile terror. There is plenty of grisly screen horror out there for teenagers, of course, but younger children are more amply served by fiction from the likes of R. L. Stine, Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman, on whose fast-moving, suspenseful novel “Coraline” is based. The film, an exquisitely realized 3-D stop-motion animated feature directed and written by Henry Selick (“The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach”) has a slower pace and a more contemplative tone than the novel. It is certainly exciting, but rather than race through ever noisier set pieces toward a hectic climax in the manner of so much animation aimed at kids, “Coraline” lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

We've been here before with digital animation to Blu-ray . It exports as faithful an image quality as the filmmakers could possibly want. Digital-to-digital, the image transfer, therefore, is flawless. What can only matter is your personal preference to the style. I've never been crazy about this Selick 'look' in the past but warmed more generously to Coraline. The Blu-ray contains both 2D and 3D version each taking up around 20 Gig of disc space. The 3D has some 'dimensional' moments but I preferred the 2D which also showcased some more subtle depth at times. Colors have a softer pastel appearance that is consistent through the film and the contrast is pristine. Darker scenes hold their background detail quite subtly and very well. The style becomes appealing quickly and this Blu-ray gives a smooth, blemish free presentation without gloss, artifacts or digital manipulation marring the consistency. It's pretty darn impressive.   
















Audio :

The audio gives up nothing to the image. The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3449 kbps is just as crisp with both subtle and aggressive separations. The range is surprisingly strong and the buoyancy compliments the image rather than seems distant from it's, often, primitive look. Bruno Coulais' original score probes the shadowy depths exporting a chilling extension to some of the film's more creepy visuals. There are optional subtitles and this disc is Region FREE as identified by my Momitsu.




Extras :

This Blu-ray package includes 2D and 3D versions of the film as well as 4 pairs of 3D glasses. There is also a second 'bonus' disc which includes a digital copy of Coraline.


On top of the reasonably thorough audio commentary by director Selick and composer Bruno Coulais there are three (count'em 3!) U-Control Picture-in-Picture Tracks under the headings "Tours and Voice Sessions", "Picture in Picture" and "Animatics". This disc includes 3 HD featurettes totaling over an hour's worth of production details, voice characterizations and even 10-minutes of deleted scenes. Universal includes it's usual bookmarking ability (My Scenes), an untested BD-Live and is D-Box Motion Enabled, plus the inclusion of a Digital Copy of the film for use with your portable device. Pheww - fans should be more than satisfied on the supplement-front.



There is a lot of positive with Coraline and the Blu-ray is extremely professional and competent in exporting a fulfilling package. Kids may enjoy the 3D aspect more than I did but it's good to have the option. If you like this film, you will surely revel in this hi-def Blu-ray offering. There are aspects that may intrigue both mature children and adults but the former who are particularly sensitive should perhaps take a pass.   

Gary Tooze

July 18th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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