Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Review at 11: Coraline
When is a kid's movie not a kid's movie?
For years animation has been regarded as being for children only. Well at least in the United States its seen this way. Other cultures like Japan have long embraced animation as being for adults as well as children.
Coraline falls in this camp. The movie is mesmerizing and fascinating while being quite creepy. The visuals, all in 3D, never fail to draw you in. I often had to remind myself that I was watching stop motion animation and not CGI. It's really quite wonderful.
Coraline tells the story of a young girl who's family has recently moved. She hates her new home. Often ignored by her parents, she spends the days exploring and dealing with the strange tenants. She soon discovers a tiny door. She later finds the door only opens at night. The door leads to a wonderful place, a perfect place.
This perfect place is a mirror universe where her every dream comes true. Here her parents or Other Parents as they are known, give her full attention. The Other Parents make sure her every need is met. And the Tenants are wonderful as well. Here the Tenants are not weird but amazing characters who put on entertaining shows like a daring trapeze act or a mouse circus. So perfect... if it wasn't for those button eyes.
Everyone in the other universe has these creepy buttons for eyes. Something is definitely amiss and Coraline soon finds that things are not as perfect as they appear. Her perfect Paradise soon becomes a nightmarish Hell. Can she escape?
Like I said earlier, not really a film for children.
The voice cast includes Dakota Fanning, Keith David, Teri Hatcher, Dawn French, and Jennifer Saunders. Teri Hatcher gives what might be the best of her career playing the apathetic mother and the loving yet creepy Other Mother. Keith David also steals the show playing a stray black cat.
Coraline is a fine, fine movie. Maybe the best animated movie we'll see this year. The only two animated films that might pose some competition are Up and 9. We'll just wait and see.
Remember, be careful what you wish for...