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Coraline

Released: 2009

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Runtime: 1 hr 40 min

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Henry Selick

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher

A resourceful little girl finds a portal to another world. Director Henry Selick uses the same stop-motion style he employed for A Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

Coraline's a superlatively animated and wonderfully told motion picture.

Review by: TomElce

Added: 7 years ago

Viewers taking a chance on seeing the overrated Up in cinemas would serve themselves better with Henry Selick's more imaginative and lively animated Coraline. An onslaught of out-there animated scenarios play out as the eponymous character (voiced by Dakota Fanning) discovers a new world on the other side of a small door in the home she shares with her eternally busy parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman). Meeting her button-eyed Other Mother and Other Father, who dote on the enchanted Coraline, giving her all the attention she's been craving, from a dedicated piano tune to a pristine meal. There's just one catch if Coraline wishes to stay in this seemingly better world: she has to trade in her eyes for black buttons. Rapidly, the facade of this alternate reality unravels for Coraline, Selick (notably of the masterful Nightmare Before Christmas) subsequently making the film all about nightmarish imagery and an increasingly scraggly transformation of its lead villain, the treacherous other mother.

Based on the Neil Gaiman concept, Selick's film doesn't rest on the simple fact that its image of grinning, button-eyed parents being outwardly creepy to get through. Rather, the ante is upped in the potentially lethal game Coraline starts with Other Mother, the girl battling to free the monster's previous victims as well as her parents, for whom her ongoing experience has given Coraline a newfound appreciation of. With its endearing melancholic mood giving way to an altogether more threatening tone, Coraline achieves a seamless combination of styles that Up could not, writer-director Selick giving the movie it's aesthetic and visceral charm while pushing a novel subtext on being grateful for one's lot in life. Coraline's a superlatively animated (the tunnel entrances and exits to the Other World notable standouts) and wonderfully told motion picture, for which the only major setback is the lack of a Monster House-like ending - when we anticipate a grand face-off/destruction ending, the movie allows itself to come to a steady conclusion, albeit one in which hunched-over sidekick Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.) finally gets something to do.

(Note: This review cannot comment on the effectiveness of Coraline's 3-D use, since attempts to view this format at home were frustrating at best. Storyline-wise, the film's strong enough to not need the extra dimension.)