DVD Release: 07.21.09
1 hour, 40 minutes
Second Run Seats
Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning, I Am Sam) is the new kid on the block, or more appropriately, the only kid at the apartments where she moves with her parents. As Mother (Teri Hatcher, Tomorrow Never Dies) and Father (John Hodgman, Baby Mama) type away at their garden catalog, Coraline searches for excitement and uncovers a small locked door. In the wee hours of the morning, Coraline discovers the door opens to a magical world where she meets fun and interesting versions of the people she knows. To make this world her reality, all Coraline need do is trade in her eyes for buttons like those her Other Mother has.
Writer-director Henry Selick (Monkeybone) turns Neil Gaiman's book into a warm and inviting spectacle. I didn't have the pleasure of seeing it in 3-D, and I can't help but wonder how more impressive the peculiar antics and acrobatics of Coraline's neighbors Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane, Kung Fu Panda), Miss Forcible (Dawn French, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders, Shrek 2) would have been. Still, Selick makes the colors pop and the screen literally blossoms with creativity.
Sadly, the script pales in comparison. Coraline's real world is dull and uninteresting. Mother and Father are inconvenienced by her presence. Her only companion is Wybie (Robert Bailey, Jr., The Happening), the grandson of the tenant house's landlord. Sadly,Wybie's Cat is far more interesting, and not only because he's voiced by Keith David (TV: Gargoyles) in the Other World.
In the Other World, Coraline quickly becomes a nuisance to Other Mother and the Other residents. Even when Coraline must uncover the truth behind Other Mother, the resolution is tedious and unclear. Key plot points which should have been amply foreshadowed in the previous acts for the sake of its kid-centric target audience are rushed into the third act.
You'd think an animated PG kid's film wouldn't have any unmentionables, but Coraline is rife with adult fare; yea for me, boo for the chits. At one point, the elderly Miss Spink whips out her jugs for all to behold. Granted, the nipples are covered, but little else is left to the imagination. On the darker side, the Other Wybie has his face stitched into a permanent smile to please Other Mother, which is just creepy for a viewer of any age. Danger and death abound so parents, consider yourself duly warned.
The Money Shot
Coraline is astounding to behold yet surprisingly arduous to sit through. The vibrant colors of the DVD advertisements snap and pop on my HDTV; I am tempted to watch it again. But like Coraline, I'm wise to things that look too good to be true.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009