Coraline (2009) Review

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Everything’s right in this world, kiddo.

Coraline (2009): 7 out of 10: Coraline is a stop motion animated film about a little girl who finds a portal to a parallel mirror dimension and defeats the evil within to protect her family. Based on a dark fantasy children’s novella by Neil Gaiman, Coraline often journeys from a fairy tale and fantasy to outright horror.

For who is this movie for is a question that dashed through my mind while watching it. Coraline is too scary and adult for most children. The film is full of High Octane Nightmare Fuel and retired adult entertainment stars with naked elderly puppet breasts… which, come to think of it, is also High Octane Nightmare Fuel.

As for the adults in the audience, I fear, at least in my case, that the film was too emotionally distant. I never felt attached to our plucky protagonist. In part, because she is not a very nice girl (nor terribly plucky now I think about it) and partially because the film seemed to place her and her predicament at a distance.

On the other hand, I was floored by the sheer artistry of the film. Visually this is one of the most stunning films I have ever seen. Director Henry Selick who helmed such stop motion masterpieces as James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas has taken his art to a new level. Words cannot describe the visual delights that lie inside Coraline.

While I found the story somewhat distancing, I also recognized the depth of the tale. Coraline’s two universes mirror each other in a complicated web rather than a simple black and white as one might expect. The ocean here may not be that wide but it is amazingly deep. To bad the water was a little cold for this swimmer.

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[…] but it is David Cronenberg that steals the show. David plays a soft-spoken serial killer wearing a Coraline mask simply slaughtering all that come before him while setting up our dim-witted protagonist to take […]