I had to revise this essay twice because the instructor believed that I did not provide a solid thesis statement and did not have a genre for the movie stated.

Assignment: Write an evaluative essay on a movie and movie criteria of your choice, make sure to use scenes from the movie to support your thesis statement.

Geneva Varga

WR 121 Evaluation Essay

12 March 2017

Hands of Sewing Needles

Numerous well-meaning parents forget that animated movies do not always mean kid-friendly. Coraline is one such motion picture that slides by the careful checking of parents for any disturbing content. While Coraline can be frightening at times, the visual graphics are breathtaking and all but distract from the storyline. The 2009 stop-motion animation film adapted from Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel of the same name is a breath of mountain air to an audience accustomed to superhero or science fiction on the big screen. Thus, Coraline belongs to a noticeably specific genre of film called Animated Fabulism, which invokes elements of magic, artistic style, and smooth exciting visuals.

In the opening scene of Coraline, a pair of hands made of sewing needles are creating a doll that has an uncanny resemblance to the eleven-year-old protagonist, Coraline. This scene is important because the doll is the first connection that the audience sees between the real world and the fictitious world, connected flawlessly via a small door as a portal. During the day, this door opens to a brick wall, but when both the sun and Coraline have gone to sleep the door leads to the sinister world. Fabulism places no remarkability in magic. Instead, magic is presented in an otherwise real-world or everyday setting.

The artistic style of an animated movie plays an important role, the shapes and colors help to create a certain emotion. Tim Burton’s films would not be reputed as nearly as creepy if he had chosen to go in the style of Disney Pixar. The use of bright, cheerful colors in the ominous alternate world are in stark contrast to the dull colors of Coraline’s real world. This allows the viewer to separate both worlds from one another and magnifies the differences between them.

Additionally, the characters were created with puppets; there were 28 individual puppets of varying sizes to portray Coraline alone.  At one point, our protagonist shows sixteen different expressions in a span of just 35 seconds. Together with the myriad of voices provided by actors, viewers are spellbound by the emotions reflected in the lifelike dolls. Furthermore, the way a character is dressed and acts helps the viewer construct opinions and emotionally connect with the characters. Coraline appears to the audience as an energetic young girl that is confident in herself, evidenced by her yellow raincoat and blue hair. We are captivated by her resourcefulness and determination and cheer for her success. In contrast to the Other Mother who the audience immediately becomes suspicious of when they see she has buttons for eyes.

Ultimately, the most visually exciting scene in the entire movie takes place during the finale. After Coraline has beaten the Other Mother at her game she becomes furious and begins to change. Finally, the audience comes face to face with the truly despicable villain.  At the start of the film, she appears to be an over-caring mother to Coraline. In the end, when Coraline continues to evade her attempts to trap the protagonist in the Other World, she grows in height, her outfit becomes dark, she gains hands made of sewing needles, and her body shape transforms into that of a spider as the climax approaches.

The use of puppets, talented voice actors and stunning visuals enhance a story that is already captivating. While many parents are often shocked by the content Coraline contains, the movie teaches a valuable lesson to not only the children but also to the adults. Coraline is about overcoming the temptations of desire and realizing the sacrifices parents make for their children.

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