Written by: Henry Selick, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
Directed by: Henry Selick
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Ian McShane
Music by: Bruno Coulais with a song by They Might Be Giants
My Advice: See it Twice. Once in 3D and once in 2D.
Coraline Jones (Fanning), a bored and precocious girl, moves to Oregon where her very busy parents (voiced by Hatcher and Hodgman) write a gardening catalog. She goes outside to investigate her new surroundings. There she finds a boarded up well, a mysterious cat (David), a very talkative boy named Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.) and eventually an odd doll that resembles her, which Wybie brings from his grandmother’s house.
She finds herself very bored with her surroundings as it happens to be raining and she is stuck inside. Her parents have no time for her and set her and her doll off to investigate the house just to get her out of their hair. At one point she finds a little door that has been wallpapered over. Her mother caves in to Coraline’s request to unlock the door. Mother does this to get some work done. Behind the door: only brick. But later that evening Coraline does discover the what happens when she goes through the door and enters the Other parallel world and the meets her Other button-eyed parents. They are nearly exactly like her parents but they are very interested in her and want to give her anything for her love or…do they?
[ad#longpost]This is the start of Coraline’s very interesting and at times very scary adventure in the Pink Palace and the Other World. There are curious and quirky neighbors voiced by Ian McShane, the acrobat, and to my delight the wonderful duo of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as aged burlesque entertainers. The neighbors too are part of the Other World and they are also much more interesting in the other world: this includes Wybie not being so talkative. These are elements that would lure Coraline further in to this twisted, too much of a good thing world. This storyline reminds me of several of the old 60s and 70s horror stories before slasher films–films that actually have character development and story plot that allows for suspense to build up. Coraline users her own wits–the wits of a pre-teen normal kid. This is indeed an important part of the film as the children who watch this film can actually relate to Coraline as a normal kid. Parents watching can also relate as she can be bothersome in her need for attention.
Henry Selick gets full credit on the direction of this very entertaining film. My newspaper went to lengths to set the record straight about Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton wrote the story years ago and produced the film but Henry Selick directed Nightmare. Coraline shows off Henry’s head for storytelling and his eyes for detail from Neil Gaiman‘s wonderful novel. This film is literally a feast for the eyes and senses.
The 3D aspect of the film was extremely entertaining as there are so many elements that seem to pop out of the screen. Adults and children around me were very vocal in their astonishment when bugs and flying dogs appeared right in front of your eyes. I would recommend seeing the film again in 2D because the glasses you wear are tinted light gray and has the effect of muting the brilliant color pallet throughout the film.
This is indeed a real treat for everyone. There are indeed some scary moments so you have been advised.