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Coraline – Limited Edition Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Last year, Shout! Factory introduced the wonderful world of LAIKA animation to their library. They released beefed up editions of the previously released beloved first four films in the studio’s canon. Now, they are beginning the upgrade to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. On December 13th, they’ll be starting with Coraline and ParaNorman. Both films have new 4K transfers as well as Dolby Atmos audio tracks to enhance their performance. All of the extras from before will be included. And if you act right now, they are available in collectible limited edition steelbook packaging. This review will be taking at look at the limited edition steelbook of Coraline, which you can order by using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of the review.

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Film

Originally published 8/30/2021

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.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Coraline arrives with a new 4K restoration for its upgrade to this format. And boy, does it look quite stunning. Its hard to imagine how this one has continued to look better and better, but here we are. This one looks even delishly more gothic and has even finer details showcased with even more of the genuine stop motion.

Depth: Depth of field is wonderful and grandiose as the film really looks like a big movie with such nice scale. Movements are very stop motion like, but fluid and fine with no issues coming from any sort of motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep, rich and natural. Many of the finer details and textures are still visible and prove even more fine in the darkest areas of the frame still. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are well saturated and quite lovely here with different shades and tones. Blues, yellows, reds and greens all stick out. Whites even impress. HDR really pulls together some fantastic glows and stinging colors in areas where its suggested.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Video Services, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Coraline is now equipped with a pretty active and impacting Atmos track. The room is always full with this balanced mix that features such wonderful layering and depth.

Height: Up above, you get characters crossing camera, things falling down and plenty of mystical contributions. Its plenty playful on top as well.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits with good, accurate and forceful impact. There are magic burst, engines roaring, crashing and stomping that really pulsate well.

Surround Sound Presentation: The room is wonderfully realized for 360 degrees. This isn’t one that just hangs out up front. Rear channels always have something to provide whether it be ambiance, unique sounds or tracking something off screen. Movement is rolling and packs some solid power.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Coraline – Limited Edition Steelbook is a 2-Disc set that comes with the standard Blu-ray edition previously released by Shout! Factory as well as a collectible steelbook packaging. Also included is an insert booklet featuring a foreword by Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic for Variety. All extras are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais

Inside LAIKA: Discovering The Characters of Coraline (HD, 10:45)

Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team

  • 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)

Summary

Coraline is one of my personal favorite animated films from any given period of film history. I’m ecstatic that it’s been given a 4K upgrade from LAIKA and Shout! Factory. The new transfer and audio makes the experience even more engaging and beautiful than before. Fans of the film definitely will want to seek the upgrade from the previous edition or if you held out from last year’s release, its time upgrade that old Universal disc.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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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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