Saturday, November 26, 2022

CORALINE (2009) (Limited Edition SteelBook 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Review)

Limited Edition Steelbook 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray

Label: Shout! Factory
Region Code: Region-Free (UHD), A (BD)
Rating: PG
Duration: 101 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR 2160p UHD Widescreen (1.85:1), 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Henry Selick
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., Ian McShane

Coming from director 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), Laika Studios' Coraline (2009) is the stuff stop motion, kinder-trauma nightmares are made of. This is a modern classic as far as I am concerned, in it a young girl named Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who feels ignored by her parents discovers a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life awaits her on the other side. It seems like a wonderful, more fantastical idealized version of her life, but soon the cracks in the candy-colored veneer appear, but can she return to her own life before the button-eyed nightmare becomes her reality? I saw this in theater in 2009 with my kids, and it creeped them out; so much so my daughter, who was 10 the time has refused to watch it ever since! Coraline reminds me in with Something 
Wicked This Way Comes and Watcher In The Woods, and if that adolescents nightmare-fuel is your sort of jam this is a must-own film The new Shout! Factory 4K UHD features a new scan of the film and loads of vintage extras that give a peek into the making of this frightful stop-motion classic, plus it's packaged in a gorgeous looking Steelbook. 

Audio/Video: Coraline arrives on 4K UHD from Shout! Factory, touted as a "New 4K restoration", presenting the film 2160p UHD widescreen (1.85:1) with the benefit of Dolby Vision HDR color-grading. This previous LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray looks fantastic so I was not expecting a huge uptick here, but the 4K resolution and Dolby Vision makes a big impact with the level of detail seen in the stop-motion puppets showcasing even more nooks and crannies, and the color-grading does wonders for the shadow detail, depth and warmth of color are outstanding. Audio comes by way of a buoyant Atmos remix that is full-bodied and immersive with a solid low-end that is sure to please. 

All the extras are relegated to the Blu-ray disc, there are no new extras but we do get the archival extras from past releases, which include the Audio Commentary With Director Henry Selick And Composer Bruno Coulais, a feature-length storyboard, still galleries, deleted scenes,  trailer and over an hour's worth of featurettes that explore the characters, the animation process, and the voice cast, plus we get some cool behind-the-scenes video of the making of the film. 

The 2-disc set arrives in a slick looking limited edition Steelbook packaging with artwork by Cancun-based illustrator and Art Director Cesar Moreno, which not only looks great but captures the feel of the film. Inside there's the same 12-page booklet that accompanied the previous LAIKA Studios Edition with writing on the film by film critic Peter DeBruge. Both the Blu-ray and UHD discs feature excerpts from the key art used on the Steelbook. 

Special Features:
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 (11 min) 
- Inside LAIKA – Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA’s Animation Team (10 min) 
- Still Galleries: Character Art (2 min), Concept Art (2 min),  Behind-The-Scenes (2 min) 
- Audio Commentary With Director Henry Selick And Composer Bruno Coulais
- The Making Of Coraline (36 min) 
- Voicing the Characters (11 min)
- Creepy Coraline (5 min) 
- Deleted Scenes (9 min) 
- Feature-Length Storyboards (92 min)
- Trailer (2 min)