Just got back from seeing Coraline.
Well, ok, seeing Coraline and sitting for a couple hours at the nearby Cup O’ Joe to people watch.
Yes, go see it. That’s the short & fast review.
Yes, take your kids to see it. If your kids are old enough to see Bambi — knowing that you’ll end up dealing with kids dealing with the death of Bambi’s mother — your kids are more than ready for Coraline. The scary parts are at the level of the sadistic kid’s toy-mutiliations in Toy Story; take that as a guide.
Coraline doesn’t have any deaths (there are the ghosts of three dead children, but they are dead long before the movie starts). It doesn’t take you on a frenetic frenzied over-caffeinated roller-coaster thrill ride in the way that most current animation seems obligated to do (Dreamworks, I’m glaring at YOU. Yeah, YOU). It doesn’t have a sassy streetwise black female voicing a sassy streetwise animal character, thank gods. It doesn’t have cutesy smartass talking animals. It doesn’t pack in media-references to attempt to seem hip & edgy.
It’s an offbeat, intelligent fantasy that gradually leads you in, where most of the horrors isn’t explicitly shown but strongly implied. The once or twice it IS explicitlyl shown, it packs the needed punch — the subplot with Coraline’s friend Whyborn (the OTHER Whyborn, in the faery realm) is a good example. Coraline’s “other mother” “fixes” him so he won’t talk & bother Coraline like he does in the real world…then “fixes” his mouth in a permanent smile…BRRRRRrrrrrrr.
Coraline is a wonderful hero, who owns up to her mistakes and has the courage & determination to make things right, once she realizes the trap she’s gotten herself into. She’s lured into Faery, she is tempted, she nearly falls to that temptation, barely escapes, yet she goes back into it to rescue her parents & the trapped ghost children. She’s spunky & determined without being smartass or over-hip (the awful mistake that Hollywood usually makes with characters her age) — she comes across as a real girl of that age would, and after the first few minutes, you completely forget you’re watching an animated girl. Coraline scans “real”, in a way that most animated characters don’t, these days.
I loved this movie. It’s now on the “Own The DVD” list.
Oh, and adults? Pay attention to the details. Especially the backgrounds. Especially the actor-sisters’ apartment. Me & Brett were snickering all through that sequence (along with the few adults in the row with us).