Little Girl Entranced: As voiced by Dakota Fanning, Coraline explores a fantasy world of fear, fun and frolic in "Coraline", written and directed by Henry Selick and based on Neil Gaiman's adventure novel.  The stop-motion animated feature is the world's first to be shot entirely in Stereoscopic 3D.  (Photo: ŠLAIKA Entertainment.  All Rights Reserved.)

THE POPCORN REEL FILM REVIEW/"Coraline"

For This Curious Youngster, The Grass Isn't Always Greener On The Other World Side
By Omar P.L. Moore/February 6, 2009     SHARE

"Coraline", directed by Henry Selick ("The Nightmare Before Christmas") is an instant animated classic four years in the making -- and history-making as the world's first stop-motion animation feature film to be shot in Stereoscopic 3D.  LAIKA Studios produced this outstanding effort about Coraline (pronounced Corra-lyne), a young tweener girl who lives a humdrum life under the roof of her parents, who have just moved from Michigan to Oregon until Coraline's fertile imagination and curiosity propels her to the Other World, a parallel dimension fraught with exciting possibilities and perils.  In the Other World Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) is an adventurer meeting entertaining people in British actresses Miss Spink and Forcible (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French respectively) while encountering the button people -- her Other Mother and Father (Teri Hatcher and Apple commercial actor John Hodgman respectively) and the Other Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.), Coraline's friend who isn't nearly as talkative in this world as he is in the regular one.  The "Other" people all have buttons for their eyes.  Aaah!

There's also a wise Cat (voiced to perfection by Keith David) who will be a key component in Coraline's adventures and misadventures.  Miss Fanning matches her animated character step for step, while Ian McShane is clearly having fun as the Great Mr. Bobinsky, a showman if there ever was one.  Mr. Selick also wrote "Coraline", based on the adventure novel by Neil Gaiman. 

"Coraline" opened across the U.S. and Canada today in both 3D and 35mm projection.

There's a love, care and detail with this fantasy adventure film that can't be replicated in the real live action world.  Aside from "Wall-E", the almost certain to be Oscar winner for best animated feature in a fortnight, there isn't another animated film in the last five years that has been as richly crafted nor as beautiful to watch as this one. 

The visuals are scintillating and everything on the screen is more than worth the long investment of time it took to craft.  The 3D, courtesy of Real D, is dizzying and dazzling on a number of occasions, even hypnotic.  Seeing "Coraline" in 35mm is like seeing "The Dark Knight" on a non-IMAX screen -- it just isn't the same.  The lifelike feel of these stop-motion figures is vivid as to be tactile.  There are sequences of profound beauty also ones that make you jump or even scare.  The film's rating might be PG, but be warned that some of the material here isn't even for kids approaching their teen years.  Even some adults may find the imagery disturbing.  The MPAA made a mistake in not rating "Coraline" PG-13, for that is the rating it justly deserves. 

If there was an animated version of the terrific "Pan's Labyrinth", then this would be it.  "Coraline" is sunshine and joy for every girl and boy -- of all ages.

"Coraline" is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association Of America for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.  As noted, it should be a PG-13.  There are some images that some viewers of any age may find frightening or disturbing.  The film's duration is one hour and 40 minutes.

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  PopcornReel.com.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.  

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