Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 7
Based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is the story of an independent girl who moves with her family to a new place, and discovers a hidden world both wonderful and terrifying in a door hidden in the wall.
This is very close to a “be careful what you wish for” storyline, and almost seems to chide the main character for wanting, well, her own way and more attention from her parents. Coraline wants to garden, to explore, to be unique among her peers. Her parents want her to conform, to obey, to be quiet. We’ve all had these issues at one time or another, so empathizing with Coraline is easy. But if you’re old enough, empathizing with her parents comes as an unexpected twist too.
Dark, black, shadowed; whatever you want to call it, this is a very gothic looking movie. All the bright things, the flowers, the jumping mice, the pathetic opera ladies even, are darkened with shadows both real and imagined. And then when you get to the opposite world, things just get worse. Buttons on everyones eyes, a mother that looks like a spider Queen from hell, and a ‘no escape’ clause, leaves our plucky heroine to save both herself and her real parents with very little help. Hrm. Sounds a bit like the real world, how very unfortunate. I did rather enjoy the button eclipse on the fluorescent green moon though.
Dakota Fanning stars as the voice of Coraline and sadly, it just doesn’t fit as far as I hear. But then I read the book version of the story long before the movie came out. Teri Hatcher gives voice to the other mother and actually does a fine job at the restrained death threats issuing from the twisted spider maw.
Coraline will likely scare the booties off small children, but us 20-somethings, if you like darker things, will enjoy it.