Coraline (Blu-ray Review)

In what seems like an incredibly perfect match, Shout! Factory will be releasing new digitally remastered versions of the first four films from the wonderful stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA. Those films include Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings. In addition to the new restorations, every release will feature new bonus features while carrying over the old ones. Also, a booklet is included inside the packaging. For today’s review, we’ll be taking a look at 2009’s breakout Coraline, which introduced the world to LAIKA and provided a rather dashing effort in 3-D cinema as well as breaking new ground in stop-motion animation. Coraline and The Boxtrolls are the first two arriving from Shout! Factory on August 31st. The other two films will be following them with a September release. You can land yourself a copy of Coraline by clicking the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.


A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life – only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to save her family and get back home.

Coraline was a game changing experience for animated film when it arrived. A new force was here to be reckoned with; LAIKA Studios. They delivered a stop motion masterpiece of an experience that also successfully utilized the fad new wave of 3D technology sweeping through theaters. An incredible ride from start to finish, the film catered to no certain audience and just was what it was and delivered to those of all ages who came to check it out.

LAIKA’s first film is a spooky film that has a touch in fantasy as well. Coraline feels cribbed from the styles and storytelling of scary story collection books from the 1990s as well as being a love letter to the work of Tim Burton. Even with those inspirations feeling present, its also very much its own beast, showcasing a fresh, new grimm type fairytale for adults and kids of any era and any age. One could easily overlook these factors, but its truly quite a feat what Coraline excels at pulling of and making it look easy while doing so.

Personally, I was quite taken with Coraline when it came out in theaters. It was one of my very favorite films of that decade and one of the best 3D experiences I’ve still had to this day. LAIKA became an instant favorite studio with this film (and their next one would garner them a lifetime pass), which I’ve returned to regularly over the years since. Whether you find it scary, endearing or just overall enjoyable, one can’t deny the power of just how great Coraline is on so many levels.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Shout! Factory boasts all these LAIKA films with brand new digital restorations. Coraline had a rather top shelf quality transfer its first time out and this new one has done some mere tweaking in improvements that are there, but mainly stay incremental. Detail, sharpness, texture and movement seems slightly improved and overall the image is just a strong one to showcase on the Blu-ray format in general.

Depth:  Coraline was made with 3D in mind and it showers this image with great dimensions and a nice pushback look with good depth of field. Camera movements showcase great staggering and space. Movements are smooth and no issues occur with jitter or blur.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite deep, close to natural. There is tremendous shadow and shading and also well crafted tints and shades to really bring out a nifty look to the film. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite well refined and understatedly pronounced here. There is good contrast that helps the gothic look to pop. Coraline’s hair is full and distinct and many of the lighting schemes and zany dream scenarios really pop with emboldened color schemes.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: None


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Coraline carries over its 5.1 mix. Which, when its the best, don’t mess. This is an incredibly engaging and downright thrilling 5.1 track. It is loud, messes with volume levels and sound placement and is a haunted house of fun of a surround mix. Whether its quiet or consuming the room, its quite active and draws you into having a full experience.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The film is not afraid to strike and strike big here with stomps, crashes, magical burst, crumbling, music stings and more with great thunder brought from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surround is tremendous here, bringing thunderous jumps and traveling action throughout the entire room. The film’s soundscape is smartly and playfully designed to push and pull you in all directions while sometimes having a nice giggle at your expense.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Actor diction is captured with good detail.


Coraline comes with a DVD copy of the film and an insert booklet featuring a foreword by Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic for Variety.  This new edition does not include the Anaglyph 3D version from the previous release. It also doesn’t include the U-Control PIP option, but many of those interviews may have been repurposed for the “Discovering the Characters of Coraline” featurette.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais

Inside LAIKA: Discovering The Characters of Coraline (HD, 10:45) – Featuring some vintage interviews as well as behind the scenes and on set footage, this showcases how characters come to life and are produced through stop motion animation.

Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team – The team brings out some of the old puppets from the film and reflects and motions them around a bit.

  • The Beldam (HD, 1:16)
  • Mr. Bobinsky (HD, 1:40)
  • The Cat (HD, 1:12)
  • Coraline Jones (HD, 1:15) 
  • “Other” Father (HD, 1:05)
  • “Other” Mother (HD, 1:10)
  • Wybie Lavat (HD, 1:02)

Feature-Length Storyboards (HD, 1:34:02) 

The Making Of Coraline (HD, 36:14) 

Creepy Coraline (HD, 5:03)

Voicing The Characters (HD, 10:47)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:44)

Still Galleries

  • Character Art (HD, 2:06)
  • Concept Art (HD, 2:06)
  • Behind The Scenes (HD, 2:06)

Trailer (HD, 2:25)


Coraline is one of this millennium’s animated masterpieces in both storytelling and technique. Its nice to see the LAIKA films getting second wind here with exclusive Shout! Factory releases, but in terms of picture quality and the extras, they seem to be tweaking something that was already top notch. Which, as a giant fan of LAIKA, no argument here. But for those who might not be so eager to upgrade, they may rightfully not see all the hubbub in these new Blu-rays.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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