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 of my laptop screen.
Coraline is the name of the titular character, Coraline Jones, an adventurous young girl with a boring home life and parents who don't pay attention to her. She also has some interesting characters living around her, like Mr Bobinski, an eccentric russian man who is training mice for a circus, and Ms. Spink and Forcible, two old actresses who stuff their dead dogs and are voiced by French and Saunders. Coraline also encounters Wybie, the grandson of the landlady who she dismisses at first sight as a stupid boy who talks too much.
But all that changes when she encounters a doll that looks just like her. That doll leads her to a tiny door in her apartment. That tiny door leads to an alternate world where everything is perfect and her Other Mother and Other Father lavish all their attention on her. However, everyone in this world has buttons sewn over their eyes and they want to sew buttons over Coraline's eyes. The more times she goes into the world, the more dangerous it becomes, as her other mother wants her to stay. When Coraline refuses, she tricks Coraline into a game. Coraline must find the eyes of the ghost children (if you want to know, watch the movie) and find her parents, who have been kidnapped by Other Mother.
I have not read the book this is based on but seeing this movie really makes me want to. Despite the fact that it is based on a book, its a creative premise with creative characters and good quality animation. That, of course, brings us to the animation. Henry Selick's films have always had good quality animation and this film is no different, having some of the most beautiful stop-motion animation I have ever seen. Something I did find truly terrifying is that the other mother looks exactly like Teri Hatcher (who voices her) and the design of Spink and Forcible actually look like Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley (even though Joanna Lumley has nothing to do with this). Needless to say, great animation for a good movie.
One problem I would just say with this is that some of the images are dark, even scary for younger kids, so I wouldn't watch this movie with anyone extremely young. However, that doesn't detract from it being a good movie, its just there are some scary images. Another thing that is preventing me from giving this a 100% is its mixed-up morals. Surely Coraline and her parents could reach some sort of happy medium on the attention thing? They don't have to lavish all their attention on her, but they don't have to outright ignore her either.
All in all, despite its faults, Coraline is still probably one of the best kids films I have ever seen and far from a blip on the radar of Henry Selick. It features breathtaking animation, a creative plot and characters, and some good voice acting. If you're tired of kids movies that rely on scatological humour and slapstick as opposed to quality, then this is the movie for you. Again, one of the best kids movies of the 2000's and one of my personal favourite kids movies.
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