DVD Review: Coraline

Coraline’s stellar voice cast includes Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”), John Hodgman (“The Daily Show”), Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and Keith David (Crash), with an enchanting musical score by Bruno Coulais (Winged Migration, The Chorus). Henry Selick is one of the leading directors working in animation today. He directed the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, which has achieved classic status and the remastered 3-D version is bringing Selick a whole new generation of fans. Selick is also the director of James and the Giant Peach, which won the top prize for animated feature at the Annecy Film Festival, and Monkeybone. He also created the celebrated animation sequences for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s book, a New York Times and international bestseller and enormous critical success. Among its many honors are: the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker and the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla awards.

Henry Selick hit his career homerun when he directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. He picked up three years later adapting the famous children’s book, James and the Giant Peach, turning it into an animated spectacle. Thirteen long years later, he may have outdone himself, once again.

Coraline Jones is, to say the least, a very adventurous young girl. When she gets uprooted by her parents to move into a rundown apartment building, her whole creative world is turned upside down. Until one night, she learns of a door in her living room that takes her into a whole other world, strangely like her own. Her mother and father are even there, but not quite their normal selves. The more and more she journeys into the other dimension she’s found, the more delightful it seems to stay there. Unfortunately, there are some stipulations that make staying seem like her old home is ten times as fun as it was. There is a price to pay to get back, now that her “Other Mother & Father” have grown quite attached to her. Hopefully Coraline can get back to where she came from, before she’s stuck there for eternity.

Coraline was filmed in the same stop motion style as The Nightmare Before Christmas. Just sitting and imagining how much work would go into making a treat of a film like this, is mind boggling. I think the choice in Dakota Fanning as the voice of Coraline couldn’t have been chosen better. Teri Hatcher did a great job playing a good mother and an evil mother as well. There was something about the story and the imagery in this film, that sucks you into the imaginary world along with Coraline.

I went into this movie with average expectations, and was highly impressed. It is definitely the coolest 3-D movie I’ve ever seen. Some of the effects were absolutely amazing. I watched it soon after in 2D as well, and it was just as good. Give Coraline a shot no matter your age. It’s a delightful escape from reality for 100 minutes.

Review by Charlie Giltenboth

Grade: A-
Official site: http://www.coraline.com/
Buy on Amazon: Coraline


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