Ever since I received my remarkable Coraline Mystery Box, I’ve been simultaneously looking forward to the movie and lamenting the absence of a substantial cache of Coraline concept and production art.
I finally got a chance to see the movie; which I’m happy to say lives up to my high expectations; and my wish for access to Coraline production art has been at least half answered. There is a book of production art; that is apparently disappointing in its limited scope; but a good deal of Coraline concept and production art has begun to appear on the web now that the film is in theaters.
The Coraline movie is wonderful, in the semantic roots sense of that word. In particular I was delighted that it delivered on my expectations for beautifully realized visual texture. The level of detail, and the attention paid to the design and feel of the environments in this hand-animated gem is astonishing; and a refreshing antidote to the CGI slickness of much of Hollywood’s parade of computer animated features.
After watching Meet the Robinsons through clunky 3-D glasses and getting tired of the effect about half way through, I was reluctant to watch Coraline that way, but I’m glad I did. The tasteful artistic approach applied throughout the movie has been carried over into the use of 3-D. After a few obligatory “poke you in the eye” (literally) demonstrations of the effect, it settled in as a way to add feeling and depth (in more ways than one) to the atmosphere of the story rather than being repeatedly intrusive as a gee-whiz gimmick.
The story, animation skills, direction, voice characterization and overall realization of Coraline are superb, making it one of my favorite films (animated or otherwise) in recent years.
The crew at LIAKA really delivered on the anticipation they generated with their remarkably creative promotional campaign of the Coraline Mystery Boxes.
On the other hand, my hope for a great book of Coraline production art has apparently not been answered, at least not yet. I haven’t seen it myself, but according to reviews, Stephen Jones’ Coraline: A Visual Companion is disappointing both in its limited scope and the poor quality of the images it does feature.
However, concept and production art images from the film have begun to appear on the web. Ward Jenkins, a regular contributor to Drawn! (see my previous posts on Drawn!), has compiled an excellent article on some of the great concept artists who worked on the film, The Art of Coraline (from which I’ve taken many of the links provided below).
In particular I was delighted with the evocative settings by Chris Appelhans (image at left, top; see my previous posts about Chris Appelhans) and the wonderful designs for plant life by Chris Turnham (image at left, second from top; see my previous post on Chris Turnham).
Chris Turnham was apparently responsible for many of the beautiful plant designs in the amazing Coraline Production Art Scrapbook (click for larger images) that was the star item in my Coraline Mystery Box.
(Images at left: Chris Appelhans, Chris Turnham, Jon Klassen, Dan Krall, Stef Choi, Shane Prigmore, Shannon Tindle, Katy Wu)