Textual Analysis 10:’Coraline’ Opening Title Sequence


The film ‘Coraline’ is a 2009 American stop motion dark fantasy thriller film. The film is based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Neil Gainman. The film was written and directed by Henry Selick. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. The film was made with Gaiman’s approval and cooperation.

The film is about a family who move to a new house. The daughter, Coraline, is an adventurous girl and finds a secret door containing an idealised parallel world. However, Coraline is unaware that the alternate world contains a dark and sinister secret.


The Title Sequence

For the first 46 seconds of this sequence the frame is just filled with different titles on a background. The titles look as if they are being sown into the background, foreshadowing what will be happening in the film. The background is of textile material, which two is very fitting for the film. The editing of the button falling into place in the title of the name of the film is a very good use of editing, as the buttons for eyes is the turning point or the disequilibrium in the narrative, as it is when Coraline realises that the parallel world is crazy. The sound starts quite slow and low-key, then suddenly turns into a faced paced beat. The music is quite eerie, setting a good mood for the film.

The music slows down a little when the doll flies in through the window. The doll is caught by mysterious, thin metal hands. The identity of these hands are not known until the very end of the film when the audience find out they belong to the antagonist “the other mother”. This is a very common convention of thriller films. The text is now not in a style that looks like its been sown on, it now appears to be more neat and perfect, parallel to how the parallel world appears to be perfect. The audience begin to see the hands dismantle the doll, creating and enigma in the audience as they don’t understand as to why this doll is being dismantled.

The music’s pace picks up again and gets louder when the doll is beginning to be put back together. The music does briefly pause when the hand opens up a draw containing a lot of buttons, again signifying the importance of buttons in the film.

The sequence then comes to a close, with the music fading out into an howl-like sound, a sound well recognised in the thriller genre, used to create suspense. We also see the completion of the doll, which has an uncanny resemblance to the protagonist, Coraline.


Side Note

This title sequence is quite different to the others I have looked at as it is solely animation. Obviously when it comes to our title sequence it shan’t just be animation as it would not meet the criteria from the exam board, but this title sequence has given me some great ideas for what I could do in terms of the editing of titles in our title sequence.




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