February 15, 2009
Review - " Coraline " - (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Henry Selick
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Keith David, John Hodgman, Ian
McShane, Robert Bailey Jr.
I went into this movie knowing it was by the same guy who did "Nightmare
Before Christmas", so right away I knew I was in for a pretty great movie
visually, if nothing else. Henry Selick once again takes us to a world full of
imagery and wonder, but this time, some of it is actually frightening. The style is
stunning and the story is an unwavering fairy-tale nightmare that has some
genuinely scary moments. "Coraline" is a masterful movie and an exciting tale
of mystery and imagination. Selick has created a world as much for adults as
children as there are references dotted throughout that the young won't
understand. The imagery, however, is very child like.
Feisty eleven-year-old Coraline walks through a secret door and discovers a
parallel reality. That reality is sort of similar to the life she already knows yet
deeply unsettling in a number of ways. Coraline (voice of Dakota Fanning)
begins a journey of adventure and self discovery when her parents (Teri
Hatcher and John Hodgman) relocate the family to Oregon from Michigan. No
one in this new space has time for her so she spends her time exploring her
new neighborhood with an talkative local boy named Wybie Lovat (Robert
Bailey Jr.). After discovering the odd neighbors all of whom are true characters,
she is still bored.
In the rotting nooks and crannies of Coraline's new home the real story begins and where she discovers a hidden doorway
behind the wallpaper which seems to lead to nowhere, but upon revisiting the door late at night, it opens onto a parallel
world that is much more whimsical and fun than the real world. Inside is her alternate space where there are doubles of her
distracted parents now lavish loving attention on Coraline, the oddball neighbors are friendlier, and her pesky friend no
longer speaks. The rather blasé atmosphere of the real world is electrified with color and interesting flights of fancy. It
seems just so perfect...or is it? In the "other world", everyone's eyes are now black buttons giving a clue that something
isn't quite right.
It has some highly fun and amusing characters in it, and that is the strongest thing of the movie. "Coraline" is oddly
reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland" (girl entering new and strange world, plus the cat that talks makes it obvious) but this
world has a dark twist. Filled with a great cast and terrific visionary, I feel this movie is fun for all ages. Dakota Fanning, Teri
Hatcher, and a number of other vocal actors give voice to a number of wonderful characters, with Hatcher really doing
double and triple-duty with her vocal talents. Fanning on the other hand, fleshes out a character. Her voice gives Coraline
the life that I didn't think was possible.
The stop-moption animation is choppier than the slicker Dreamworks & Pixar fare we have become accustomed to. Henry
Selick manages to craft a world that just seems to take great advantage of stop-motion in a world where the obvious choice
would be to go for a totally computer-generated film. Seeing
minute details such as Coraline's clothing made of actual
material makes the world seem even more magical, where
invisible giants manipulate the Lilliputians in this miniature
For those who are looking for a good time with the kids, I
highly recommend this. for those who are looking for a good
"trip" movie, I highly recommend this, and for those who
think the magic in movies are gone, PULL-EEEZ go see this!
Good and imaginative story, delighting visuals, creepiness
from the beginning and a couple scary scenes make this
an enjoyable film.