Movie Name: Coraline
Release Date(s): February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Coraline (voice by Dakota Fanning) and her family (voice by Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) have moved to a new state and new home so Coraline’s parents can work on their catalogue. With no friends, Coraline is forced to explore her new surrounding. She meets the strange boy next door Wybie (voiced by Robert Bailey, Jr.), the weird sisters Spink and Forcible (voiced by Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French) and their Scottish terriers, and the strange acrobat Mr. Bobinsky (voiced by Ian McShane) and his performing mice. Coraline also finds a small covered door…behind it nothing but bricks. One night Coraline finds the door open and a portal to another world where she meets her Other-Mother and Other-Father. The Other-World seems perfect…but Other-Worlds often hide secrets.
Coraline was directed by Henry Selick and based off of the 2002 novel by Neil Gaiman. The movie was shot in a stop motion similar to The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride and released in 3D in 2009. It received well received by critics and a financial success.
Coraline‘s story is interesting with the main character not always being entirely likable. It has a bit of Roald Dahl darkness thrown in that helps make the movie enjoyable. It is one of those movies that a kid can enjoy because they are a bit frightened, but still safe enough that the kid won’t be too terrified (they might not want to go through little hidden doors in houses however).
The movie is aided by the voice acting talents of Dakota Fanning (who I generally find annoying, but in a voice sense she’s not bad) and Teri Hatcher as her mother and Other-Mother. They have the most scenes and generally do a nice job making the rounded characters. John Hodgman as Coraline’s father feels a bit of a second banana and likewise most of the other supporting cast.
What I don’t like about Coraline is a general problem with the story. I realize that the film is dealing with basic fairytale aspects, but the book feels like a real rip off of the 1992 Clive Barker children’s book The Thief of Always. That story involves a boy going to a magical house where the house takes of care of him…stealing him from the real world…sound familiar? I think it is a better story, and better presentation. Now if it ever makes it to film (it has been rumored for years), many will just see it as a Coraline rip-off.
Coraline as a stand-alone piece however isn’t a bad film. It gets a little messy at the end with a lot of random “rules” on how to defeat the dangerous Other-Mother, but for the most part it is a strong fun film. The kids will like the darkness and adults will like the relatively smart script so check it out.
[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B00288KNJU” locale=”us”]