Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Coraline (2009) - ickleReview (in-flight movie)

Clever animated adaptation of a novel by Neil Gaiman, aimed at kids but also appropriate for adults. I don't agree with some critics who claim it's "too scary for kids". I agree with Mark Kermode that's it's good to be scared.

Coraline (not Caroline) moves with her parents to a big old house in Michigan. They are too busy to give her any attention, so she explores the house and its surroundings by herself, discovering a tiny door which leads to another world in which her parents appear to treat her better but have buttons for eyes.

The story cleverly avoids the old it's-just-a-dream cliché, although it does threaten to play with it at some stage. The visuals are delightful, but I'm not sure it would be all that much better in the 3-D version. Some of the scenes seem to be contrived specifically for 3-D e.g. the removal men unloading the lorry towards the camera at the beginning.

Nugget: reminiscent of Tim Burton's visual style in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), which makes sense because Henry Selick directed both movies (duh!). Voice artists include Teri Hatcher as the mother, Dakota Fanning as Coraline, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, Ian McShane, and Robert Bailey Jr. as the local weird boy, Wybie Lovat (short for Wyborn i.e. "why was he born?"). Interesting to note that Robert Bailey Jr. is a black actor playing a white kid: how often does that happen?

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