Coraline 3D

Stereoscopic stop-motion animation gets a Full HD 3D Blu-ray makeover

Released into cinemas back in 2009, Coraline is the latest stop-motion animated feature from director Henry Selick, the man behind A Nightmare Before Christmas. This time around he turned to a novel by noted fantasy author Neil Gaiman for his source material, and the result is a dark, disturbing and marvellously grotesque modern fairytale. Bored and neglected by her workaholic parents, Coraline stumbles into an alternate world where the button-eyed 'Other Mother' and 'Other Father' give her the love and attention she always craved. But as you might expect, it all comes at a terrible price...

Picture: The previous Blu-ray served up two VC-1 1080p encodes of the film, one in 2D and the other presented in anaglyph 3D. Unsurprisingly, the former looked very good indeed, while the latter was a bit crap due to the limitations of the technology. This new releases scraps both of them in favour of a brand-new MVC 1.85:1 1080p 3D encode that can also be viewed on 2D setups as an AVC 1080p presentation.

Comparison of the two 2D versions reveals next to no difference between the VC-1 and AVC encodes, but that's hardly a problem as the film looks absolutely flawless in hi-def. Seriously, there's not a single flaw to be found anywhere in the image. Colours are extraordinarily vibrant, blacks are inky and the fine detailing and textures evident throughout the film highlights the beautiful animation.

Meanwhile, the only negative we could come up with for the Full HD stereoscopic presentation is that it's a tiny, little bit darker than the 2D version - but that's commonplace with the technology. Apart from that the 3D visuals never put a foot wrong. From the beautiful opening sequence onwards Coraline makes surprisingly artful use of space within the image, playing around with depth in a thrilling manner. The tunnel sequences linking the real world with that of the twisted mirror world are a particular highpoint, almost inviting you to climb into the screen alongside the film's protagonist.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: While not the most dynamic mix you'll ever listen to, there's still a lot to love about Coraline's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. The front of the soundstage is wonderfully expansive, while subtle use of the surrounds ensures the creation of authentic acoustic locations for the characters to inhabit. Perhaps the most striking element of all in this lossless mix is the sheer clarity and rich tonality of the audio, enabling you to pick out each individual instrument used in Bruno Coulais' haunting score.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Unlike the barebones Full HD 3D version of Coraline made available exclusively through Panasonic hardware bundles last year, this retail release does bring back most of the bonus features from the old anaglyph 3D release. These include a lively and extremely informative audio commentary by director Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais, six deleted scenes with intros by Selick (9mins), the ten-part The Making of Coraline documentary (36mins), the Voicing the Characters featurette (11mins) that looks at the film's voice cast and recording sessions, the Creepy Coraline featurette (5mins) showcasing some of the films spooky props and models, plus a D-Box Motion Code (the first on a 3D disc?) and a BD-Live link. All of the extras are presented in 1080i, and for those who care, the set also includes a bonus DVD copy of the film.

However, a sacrifice has clearly had to be made to accommodate the MVC 3D encode, and its come in the form of the old U-Control features. The previous Blu-ray release featured three U-Control modes - Picture-in-Picture, Tours and Voice Sessions, and Animatics - none of which are found on this snazzy new version.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Henry Selick's splendidly creepy animated treat gets a whole new lease of life in eye-popping Full HD 3D

Universal Pictures, All-region Blu-ray/R2 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now