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Coraline: Spooky and Awe-Inspiring

It's pretty darn hard not to be impressed by the miniature, handmade world brought to life in Coraline. The painstakingly careful process of making the movie is mind-boggling when you think about it and the end result is extremely cool to watch on a giant screen in 3-D. Stop-motion animation is an art form all its own, and it's truly a delight to watch this strange and sometimes very scary story told using this medium. Whether it's the real-life objects that are moving and talking or the 3-D experience, the fact is that it's remarkably easy to become absorbed into this world. Basically, Coraline is immensely entertaining.

The story, from Neil Gaiman's book, is more intriguing — and way darker — than most animated movies that are ostensibly geared toward children. The look and feel of the visuals only further darkens the tone. Coraline is a clever, no-nonsense girl who just moved into a new home with her parents. Both parents are writers who work from home — but that doesn't mean Coraline has constant companionship as they shoo her away at practically every turn. But one night, Coraline opens a small door in the living room, which leads her to a warm, colorful alternate world in which everything about her life is the same — only better. She has all the food and sweets she desires, her mother and father are engaging and attentive, and they create spectacular things for her. There's always a catch, though, so


If Coraline wishes to stay in this world, she must replace her eyes with buttons and promise to stay with her "Other Mother" forever. The ghosts of children who succumbed to the appeal of their "other" worlds haunt Coraline and warn her not to give in, but by that point, the Other Mother has trapped Coraline and she must figure out how to escape, while helping the ghosts of those children along the way.

Admittedly, I'm not sure what the movie would be like if one were watching it on a small screen, or if the magic would be less potent if it weren't for the 3-D aspect. I wondered at times if I were so engaged in the story because of the visuals, or whether I'd find it so cool without the larger-than-life screen. I really don't know. Still, it doesn't take away from the accomplishment of bringing to jerky, spooky life this miniature world, all blown up.

I spent the duration of the film enraptured by this tale, these characters, and the visual ride I was on, and I spent days afterward excitedly marveling at the wonder of it all. If you already dislike animation and stop-motion, then Coraline won't change that. But if you allow yourself to be pulled in completely, the reward is an eerie-sweet feast for the eyes.

Images courtesy of Focus Features

Join The Conversation
ang1885 ang1885 8 years
My friend and I saw it in 3D and it was amazing. There was a little girl behind us and during some parts I was surprised she wasn't freaking out because my friend and I were!
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I really want to see this one. I have a soft spot in my heart for stop motion and the stiry seems entertaining.
sonya-ina sonya-ina 8 years
My husband and I saw this yesterday (unfortunately not in 3D), and we both though it was great! I can't imagine how long it took them to do all that stop-motion, sheeesh!
mlen mlen 8 years
yea it threw me off cause it said from the director of the nightmare before christmas- but as you said tim burton didn't direct it- and he has nothing to do with this one. i haven't seen it yet but i want to!
Allyace Allyace 8 years
Like flamingo08 said, Tim Burton isn't attached to this one. You are probably just thinking that b/c it looks like the Nightmare Before Christmas that he was attached to this one too. But he didn't direct that one either, he wrote the screenplay.
Wicked Wicked 8 years
I remember I read this book when it first came out and I liked it a lot. I reread it when I heard it was going to be released as a movie. The book is creepier than the movie, imo, and a bit more serious. But the movie was pretty good, a little slow at times, but I think I would've liked it more if I didn't read the book.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 8 years
We saw this last night (if you can see it at a theater with 3d glasses - do it!). We were amazed how good it was on so many levels. Highly recommend this on the big screen. Not for young kids though!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I think I'd rather read the book. Our middle daughter's class has this book on their reading list for this year. And at the beginning of the school year the teacher told us that they may not get to it - it just depended on how their schedule went with other things. Now that the school year is about half over, I'm not sure they're going to get to it. When we went to open house and found this out I'd never even heard of the book and did not know it was being made into a movie. The movie looks scary, but the teacher said the book is a true horror book so I shouldn't be surprised. I'm not sure how I feel about 6th graders reading it. I'll need to read it myself to determine what I think about that.
flamingo08 flamingo08 8 years
Tim Burton had NOTHING to do with this film.
wendybird33 wendybird33 8 years
Just saw it today and I thought it was a little long and a bit boring at times. Good story though.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i saw a preview of this movie last night on letterman when dakota was there, and to be honest, it's not really my thing, but it looks great. i can't believe that it took 5 years to make though - that's insane!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
I like Gaiman, but I hate stop action, and I hate pretty much anything Tim Burton touches, so I'll have to skip this one.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I just saw this last night and I loved it. The visuals were just amazing, especially in 3-D. It was bit creepy though...I wouldn't take young kids to see it.
NouraBee NouraBee 8 years
saw the trailer creepy !!! :S
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I've heard nothing but good stuff about this movie although it looks too creepy for children.
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 8 years
I saw this last night and was blown away. I love Neil Gaiman and think they did an amazing job bringing the magic of his stories to the screen. I didn't get to see it in 3-D sadly (The Dark Knight is STILL playing in the part of the theatre that lends itself to the 3-D) but I can say it was magical even without it.
bleached bleached 8 years
I went to see this movie yesterday and I enjoyed it immensely. I like Neil Gaiman's work so I'm not surprised. I thought the visuals were absolutely stunning, especially in 3-D. It was quite creepy though so I doubt that I would be comfortable bring young children to see it.
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