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Coraline (Limited 4K SteelBook Edition Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


When she moves into an old house, bored 11-year-old Coraline goes exploring and finds a tiny door with a passageway to an alternate world with alternate parents that have buttons for eyes and are much more attentive to her needs, but she soon realizes something frightful is going on in this stop motion adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel.

Coraline 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Limited Edition SteelBook (Shout! Factory)Coraline is director Henry Selick’s stop-motion animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s international best-seller. The eleven-year-old girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) moves into an old house with her distracted parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) who don’t pay her much attention. Soon the inquisitive young Caroline finds herself exploring her new neighborhood where she finds a strange black cat (voiced by Keith David) and an annoying neighborhood boy named Wybie (voiced by Robert Bailey Jr.) among other strange and eclectic neighborhood characters, such as the Russian gymnast Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane) who speaks of strange jumping mice. While exploring her own house, Coraline finds a small door with a weird passageway that she boldly crawls through. On the other end she finds an alternate world with two other parents that look just like hers, but they have buttons for eyes, and they are very attentive to her. Caroline initially loves it there, especially all the delicious food here ‘other’ mother feeds her, but when her other mother tries to convince her to stay in the alternate world with them forever and she refuses, Coraline begins to realize there is something more sinister going on.

The story has obvious parallels to Alice in Wonderland, only in a more contemporary setting and more Gothic than the former. It stands on its own and is an enchanting, well-crafted adventure about an inquisitive and bored young girl who gets into an adventure. The combination of the brilliant art and character designs, the obviously painstaking stop-motion animation, and the music, which is sometimes of a jazz fusion style, sometimes haunting, sometimes folksy, infuses the film with a sense of mystery. Adding to the magic are the excellent voice performances from the likes of Dakota Fanning as Caroline, Teri Hatcher who is particularly creepy as ‘Other’ Mother and Keith David as the Cat.  Although this may not fall into the category of perennial holiday classic like The Nightmare Before Christmas, it is a quainter film that yields more on multiple views.

The Video

Coraline arrives on 4K Ultra HD in a new 4K restoration in a 1.85:1 HEVC (4K UHD) with Dolby Vision HDR encodement. The HDR10 Metadata shows a MaxLL of 1036 nits and MaxFALL of 154 nits. As beautiful as the LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray release looked, this release looks even better. It is cleaner and yields even more details, with more nuanced gradations in the color scheme and overall vibrancy. For the 2021 LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, I said one should go to Chapter 5 at the 00:34:25 where Coraline enters the garden for a spectacular visual (and aural, see below) reference or the same chapter at the 00:37:45 mark with the circus of jumping mice for more visual splendor with lights and an array of colors. This is still true as a reference point for this 4K edition and is even more spectacular on this release. The garden scene brings more colors and specular highlight ‘pop’ with higher contrast, as does the scene with the circus of mice. Overall, this 4K release of Coraline undoubtedly becomes the reference release for this film and arguably for every other animated release on disc.

The Audio

Coraline on 4K also gets a new Dolby Atmos mix on 4K Ultra HD. Stepping up what was already a wonderfully natural, balanced, and well-designed audio mix in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. I recall in my previous review for the 2021 release saying this would be a prime candidate for a DTS:X or Dolby Atmos remix, and I was correct. Now there is good height awareness for things like the rain pattering against the windows on of the roof of Coraline’s house in the beginning of the film as she is interrupting her father working in his office or when there are thunderclaps. As before, check Chapter 5 (see the above video section) for excellent reference points for this Atmos mix. One part in the garden scene as Other Father flies off finds the sounds moving around the room and overhead.

The Supplements

This Limited SteelBook Edition of Coraline comes with previous released bonus features from the 2021 LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray Combo release. Only the audio commentary appears on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Discs. All other bonus features are on the Blu-ray Disc only.

  • Stunning new SteelBook Artwork
  • Art & Essay Mini-Book
  • Commentary with Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais (4K & Blu-ray)
  • Inside LAIKA: Discovering the Characters of Coraline (1080p; 00:10:45) – The crew discuss the stop-motion animation and developing the performance of the puppets.
  • Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team (1080p):
    • The Beldam (00:01:16)
    • Bobinsky (00:01:40)
    • The Cat (00:01:12)
    • Coraline Jones (00:01:15)
    • ‘Other’ Father (00:01:05)
    • ‘Other’ Mother (00:01:10)
    • Wybie Lovat (00:01:02)
  • Feature-Length Storyboards
  • Forward by Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic for Variety (booklet)
  • The Making of Coraline (1080p; 00:36:14):
    • The Evolution of the Story
    • Inspiring Design: Character Design and Art Design
    • Directing the Voice Sessions
    • Making Puppets
    • Coraline’s Closet
    • Setting the Stage: How Does Your Fantastic Garden Grow?
    • It’s Alive
    • I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Fog
    • The Eyes Have It
    • Wrapping Up Coraline
  • Creepy Coraline (1080p; 00:05:03)
  • Voicing the Characters (1080p; 00:10:47)
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 00:08:44)
  • Character, Concept Art, and Behind the Scenes Photo Galleries
  • Trailer (1080p)

The Final Assessment

This is a stunning restoration of a contemporary animated classic that arrives just in time for the holidays. Even of you have the previous Blu-ray release, I recommend you grab this up. There is also a Standard Edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray release available.

Coraline (Limited Edition 4K SteelBook) is out December 13, 2022 from Shout! Factory

  • PG (for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor)
  • Studios & Distributors: Focus Features (presents) | Laika Entertainment | Pandemonium (in association with) | Shout! Factory
  • Director: Henry Selick
  • Written By: Henry Selick (screenplay) | Neil Gaiman (book)
  • 101 Mins.
  • Street Date: 13 December 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1036 nits
    • MaxFALL: 154 nits
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby Atmos
  • Secondary Audio: Spanish DTS 5.1 | French DTS 5.1 | English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
  • Subtitles: English SDH | Spanish | French

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When she moves into an old house, bored 11-year-old Coraline goes exploring and finds a tiny door with a passageway to an alternate world with alternate parents that have buttons for eyes and are much more attentive to her needs, but she soon realizes something frightful is going on in this stop motion adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel.Coraline (Limited 4K SteelBook Edition Review)