A piece of 3-D stop-motion animation about a little girl with blue hair and ski-jump nose (everyone hears her name as Caroline, and her last name of Jones will only encourage confusion in anyone who remembers the Morticia of TV’s Addams Family, Carolyn Jones), who, unhappy with her preoccupied parents, is lured into a parallel universe of idealized replicas — a sort of Stepford Mom and Stepford Dad — but for their button eyes. Her price to pay for permanent residence in this universe is to trade her own eyes for buttons: “Soon you’ll see things our way.” (Distant echoes of Invaders from Mars and Invasion of the Body Snatchers: the lobotomy bugaboo.) Director Henry Selick, heretofore of The Nightmare before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, pays a lot of attention to landscape and surface, such that the film cultivates an aggressive tactility. But the dream world opens the door also to a self-indulgent succession of oddities and bizarreries — here a mouse circus, there an audience of Scotties — without much narrative drive. And it’s plainly a higher priority to be dark and edgy and Tim Burton-y than to be kid-friendly. The catered-to adult is still apt to feel something extra was needed, and the distracting 3-D neither provided it nor disguised it. With the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Ian McShane, Keith David. 2009.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

Comments

tambrett Feb. 6, 2009 @ 12:32 p.m.

For what its worth - I've just gotta tell ya - "Coraline" is not something I would go and see! This 3-D stop-motion animation is not for me! I cant even get into the story line becuz I get so caught up in looking at the crazy, moving, strange animation! ANIMATION?? OK, NOOOOOOOOOO...............give me the old type of cartoons and youve got me! What is going on in this world.

Maybe I am old school - but I sure miss the old type of "REAL" cartoons!

Tammy

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Jay Allen Sanford Sept. 30, 2009 @ 5:07 a.m.

This stop-motion-style creepy crawly is based on a comic book by Sandman creators Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, produced by many of the crew behind Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Even without frequent stop-motion collaborators Burton and Depp, it was a fine movie, and not at all bad in 3D. I didn't realize they'd refined 3D so much, and it was cool that I could take off the glasses and still watch a pretty regular looking movie, other than occasional short bits designed for stereoscopic (possibly quadroscopic?) separation.

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