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Coraline (movie)

A 2009 stop motion animated fantasy film directed by Henry Selick.

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Beautiful to look at, but paper-thin plot

  • May 31, 2009
Coraline, the latest adaptation of a work by Neil Gaiman, has hit theatres. It tells the story of young girl who, along with her rather oblivious parents, has just recently moved to the Pink Palace Apartments in what appears to be Ashland, Oregon. She feels stifled and doesn't like the place, especially after she meets weird local boy Wybie.

Her life becomes rather more interesting when she finds a portal to another world (climbing through something rather similar to a big, blue-purple vagina. I'm not judging, just reporting), where she meets her Other Mother and Other Father, both idealized versions of her parents with buttons for eyes. They lavish love and attention upon her and don't appear to want anything in return. Well, possibly her eyes.

This is a weird little stop-motion animated movie with some of the best, most amazing visuals I've seen on film in a long time. One of the things I love about movies is their abilities to show me things I've never seen and on that level this film doesn't disappoint. The mouse circus alone is worth the price of admission. It's also got a good, if rather basic, plot and some great voice acting.

The film has a brisk pace, and at no point was I looking at my watch, wondering when it would end. The sheer creativeness of what I was seeing up on the screen was enough to distract me from the few plot holes, though I did notice a couple points where it seemed like scenes were missing.

But there was something kind of off about the film. I don't know what it was. It certainly felt somewhat incomplete, and the third act felt kind of rushed (basically, "Go off on a quest!" followed a few moments later by, "Right, quest done!"). Despite that, it was a decent movie and I didn't feel my money was wasted, which is always a plus.

One word of caution about the film. I would be careful on taking young kids to see it. There's some rather dark images here (like a few attempts at removing eyes), that might give kids some rather unhappy dreams. I'd not take anyone under about 8 or so without seeing it first to screen it.

Also, I can't speak to the 3-D effects, since my theatre didn't show it in 3-D. I could tell where there were clearly moments that were supposed to be 3-D but weren't. I've a feeling it probably didn't add anything to the movie to see it in 3-D, though.

So if you want a good time at a film where you'll see things you've never seen before, go to this. If you don't want that, hey, there's always Benjamin Button. At least you'll keep in the buttons theme.

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More Coraline (film) reviews
review by . March 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Yes, yes; I know there is a BOOK called Coraline that was the basis of this film.      I have more time to watch a movie than to sit and read, sue me.      Now that that is out of the way -      Coraline follows a young girl and her parents who have moved from the city where her parents write seed catalogs (but in reality hate dirt). Coraline is bored to tears. She wanders around meeting the other eccentric residents of the …
review by . January 22, 2011
Coraline is in my opinion one of the best kids films of the 2000's and one of the best kids movies I have ever seen. It is made by Henry Selick, the mastermind behind Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, and is made somewhat in the style of a Tim Burton movie. The animation is simply breathtaking and the voice acting is wonderful as well. The only reason I'm not giving it a 90 or 100 is that it scared the hell out of me in the theatre, but not so much in the comfort …
review by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I personally enjoyed this film, though my son refused to continue watching it, just for the mere fact of the dark eeriness that surrounds it. The director, Henry Selick, is much more like Tim Burton than I expected, though I believe they've worked together in the past. However, since I enjoy Tim Burton movies, I enjoyed Coraline. However, I would not recommend it to you if you don't have a humor or artistic appreciation similar to that of Burton's because Coraline is right up that alley.   …
review by . April 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Neil Gaiman is known mostly for his graphic novels and a handful of Children's Literature (not to mention an adult novel or two).  He's all over and has a pretty big cult following.  When he began writing Coraline it was mostly just a free write.  Hence, he didn't know where the story was going or what would happen next.  When he was finished with it, his first thought was: Henry Selick would like this.  And he had his agent send it off to Henry Selick who did, indeed, love …
Quick Tip by . January 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Neil Gaiman's work becomes adapted to the big screen in gorgeous stop-motion animation. This is a fantastic whimsical story about us being dissatisfied with what we have, and our desires that may tend to lead us to a darker path.
review by . May 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
You have to feel for Henry Selick. He got somewhat of a raw deal with his directoral debut feature The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Most of the credit and accolades for that film undeservedly went to Tim Burton, who actually only provided the story and some of the character designs. The style and aesthetic of that movie was assumed to be all Burton's, but, after seeing Coraline, it's clear how much was down to Selick.   Coraline is a stunningly well designed movie; beautiful yet strange, …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A huge breath of fresh air; gorgeous cinematography and reminder to cherish the things we already have. "Be careful what you wish for."
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Coraline was just so cute and mysterious at the same time... loved it
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A very interesting animated film, one of my favorites. I suggest watching it with as many people as possible
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
i stumbled across this movie at the redbox, i'd never heard of it. i rented it and was expecting it to be what it was marketed as, a childrens movie. it was great, just not great for kids in my opinion. the story was a little to twisted and grotesque for the younger kids.
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this movie


For the last three years, the world's oddest and most talented animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators have been hand-making LAIKA's first animated feature film, Coraline. Led by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, this team has created the first stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3D. Based on the beloved best-selling children's classic by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a fairy-tale nightmere steeped in classic storytelling, craftsmanship, and the old-fashioned art of moviemaking magic. In Coraline, a young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life - a better version. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her "Other" parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home.
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Director: Henry Selick
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Release Date: February 06, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Henry Selick
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios, LAIKA
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Coraline (movie)

The Best Fantasy Films, Part II


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"A gorgeous use of 3D"
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