Be careful what you wish for.
Robert Bailey Jr.
Running Time: 100 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
So, the 3D version of Coraline was only around at my local theater for about a week, so I just got to see the regular ol D version, which was fine, because as Ive said before, no matter how cool the effect, I hate the glassesand I really wanted to enjoy this movie unencumbered. I love Henry Selick (if you didnt know, he did The Nightmare Before Christmas), plus Ive recently been introduced to Neil Gaiman (he wrote the book) and I think were secret friends, so I was ready to love the offspring of their film coupling. I was so not disappointed, and this colorful, amazingly animated dark fairy tale was exactly what I expected, only better.
Story-wise, its a pretty faithful adaptation of Gaimans award-winning childrens book. Coraline (voice of Dakota Fanning) has just moved to a new state, in a new house, and doesnt seem to be making many new friends. When her parents seem less-than-interested in her as well, Coraline begins to explore, soon discovering a small door to a parallel world thats a whole lot like her ownonly better. Its like a dream come trueeverything in her new world is so familiar, yet so much more exciting, and even her Other parents are more loving and attentive. Thrilled at first, it soon begins to occur to Coraline that somethings not quite right and she realizes, maybe too late, that you may not always want what you wish for.
Right off the bat, you need to realize that when I say award-winning childrens book, I mean the Bram Stoker Award for work for younger readers. THAT should indicate that this is most certainly no fluffy Bolt-like cartoon. Its dark, and its creepy, and for the small or easily scared, its not a good idea. For the rest of us, though, climb on in through that freaky little door. As a lifelong fan of stop-motion animation, I was thrilled when stuff like The Nightmare Before Christmas started being made again, and Coraline takes that to a whole new level of technical brilliance; worlds and sets here jump off the screen (even when theyre not 3D), and just as with Danny Elfman in Nightmare, Bruno Coulais quirky score is almost its own character. Theres a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feel to everything, which is one of the reasons it may take longer to connect emotionally, but Fanning is the ideal voice for Coraline, and though sometimes voice performances can be overlooked when throwing praise at a cartoon, she brings us in to this weird circus by perfectly embodying her animated persona. Again, its not a film full of warm fuzzies, but Coraline adds a definite and much needed twist to a genre in need of a little bit of different.
It's Got: Stunning animation, Great voice talent, Some creepy.
It Needs: Parents to be sure they know what theyre getting into.
Alternatives:MirrorMask, Neverwhere, Stardust, The Nightmare Before Christmas
Its a freaky, creepy world for our gal Coraline, and this latest animated masterpiece from the man behind The Nightmare Before Christmas lets us explore it with her.