I recently watched Coraline with the kids. The movie was pretty clever and well done, but I found it highly derivative. Here is what it made me think:
- BeetleJuice (1988) – My goodness, the artwork was so reminiscent the genius BeetleJuice, but more importantly, I found a strong similarity to the main characters (Lydia/Coraline) and to her relationship with her parents, especially her mother.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964) – The noses especially, but generally, the stop-motion genre is almost defined by these 60’s classics. Some might say “homage”, I say it was a little too close.
- Labrynth (1986) – The story was very similar. Maybe there are only 8 plots (or whatever), but I just couldn’t shake the similarities.
- Spirited Away (2001) – (Or any Miyazaki movie) There were such striking similarities, I found myself saying, “Gee this is just like Miyazaki!” I meant it as a compliment. They paid attention to detail and really nailed some of the kid-isms. The creativity and natural wonder were spot-on. But not in an original way. It was a very nice copy of the Miyazaki way.
Don’t get me wrong. It was a perfectly good movie. We enjoyed it. I just thought it was derivative. If you liked the movies above, you will like Coraline.