Coraline SteelBook 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 264, November/December 2022

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
LAIKA/Shout! Factory
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Thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
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Henry Selick
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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Eleven-year-old "Coraline" Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) has just moved with her parents (Hatcher & Hodgman) to a new home in Oregon. With no friends, and her parents distracted by work, the feisty and adventurous Coraline sets out to find some excitement in her isolated new environment. She is befriended—or, as she sees it, pestered—by a local boy close to her age, Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.) and visits her older neighbors, eccentric British actresses Miss Sink and Miss Forcible (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French), as well as the arguably even more eccentric Russian, Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane). Just as she's beginning to think her new home is utterly uninteresting, she uncovers a secret door, which leads to a parallel existence much like her own life—but much better. The adults, including the solicitous Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) welcome her warmly. And Coraline gets far more attention there-even from the mysterious Cat (Keith David). She begins to think that this Other World might be where she truly belongs. But when her wondrously off-kilter, fantastical visit turns dangerous, Coraline must summon all her resourcefulness, determination, and courage to get back home—and save her real family. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais, the featurettes "Inside LAIKA––Discovering The Characters Of Coraline" and "Inside LAIKA––Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA's Animation Team" (HD 10"45), concept art and behind-the-scenes photo galleries, three original featurettes: "The Making Of Coraline" (HD 35:53), "Voicing The Characters" (HD 10:46), and "Creepy Coraline" (HD 05:03), six deleted scenes (HD 08:37) and feature-length storyboards.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally of the stop-motion/CG imagery and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. According to the press release, the elements were painstakingly remastered by the team at LAIKA led by CEO Travis Knight and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Emerson. "Coraline"was the first stop motion animated movie ever to be conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3D, though this version is not included in this edition.

Everything appears crisp and clean. The imagery is impressively presented with captivating characters. Color fidelity is superb with enhanced hue shadings and saturation. Colors appear perfectly natural, with warm and vibrant hues, for an impressive natural look without exaggeration. HDR contrast is excellent with deep black levels and superb animated shadow delineation. White levels appear natural and never exaggerated. Resolution is excellent with fine textural detail throughout the imaginative settings and environments. The imagery reveals impressive dimensional depth and perspective. This is an outstanding reference quality animated picture. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack, as with previous editions, is beautifully recorded, with superb fidelity. Foley sound effects are perfectly rendered, with impressive low-level clarity and definition. The music score is fantastic, with a wide and deep soundstage and revealing instrumental timbre that is impressive. The ADR is excellent and delivers convincing dialogue spatial integration. Atmospheric sound effects enhance the mood and provide dimension and dynamic character, even impressive phantom center back surround imaging and height sensation. Surround envelopment is holosonic®, with aggressive localized soundfield delineation. Bass extension sounds perfectly natural, and at times, extends to below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. Pans and surround localizations are heard throughout and enhance the dimensionality of the experience.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of an extension of the orchestral/choral score and various sound effects such as thunder, wind, a kettle whistle, bees buzzing, etc. On occasion, dialogue either leaks subtlety or aggressively in outbursts. Atmospherics also extend occasionally. All in all, the element enhances the sense of spatial dimensionality.

This is a terrific Dolby Atmos soundtrack that instills life into the animated imagery. (Gary Reber)