Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coraline (2009)

I heard good things about "Coraline".  I have been waiting to see it and it finally came time.  It was very enjoyable.

Coraline is a young girl, who is an outcast in a new town.  She does not have any friends, except for the neighbors she has met.  In her house, she found a little door in the family room.  When she goes through this door, she enters an alternate world where everything seems perfect.  In the real world, Coraline's parents don't have enough time for her.  But in this world, her parents are there for her 24/7 and they give her anything her heart desires.  

Coraline keeps visiting the strange new world, but eventually finds out that her other mother is actually quite evil.  She wants Coraline to live there and never return to her real parents.  To keep her there, the other mother kidnaps Coraline's real parents.  Coraline then makes a deal with her other mother.  If Coraline can find her parents and the eyeballs of missing children, she and her family will be let go.  Now the missing children don't have eyes because in the alternate world, the other mother has removed everyone's eyes and replaced them with buttons.  Coraline is not the first person to go through the portal.  The missing children are ghosts and their souls will only be free if Coraline can find their eyes.  Coraline then goes on an adventure to save herself, her family, and the souls of the lost children.

I watched "Coraline" on blu-ray and it is the best thing I have seen so far on that format.  Because the film is stop motion and real puppets are used, little details of each model are shown like no other format can do.  It was really a marvel to watch.  It is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

I liked all of the characters in "Coraline".  Whether it was her neighborhood friend, the crazy acrobat that lives upstairs, the two crazy old actresses, the black cat, or the scotty dogs, each character was unique in their own right.  These great characters are enhanced even more through great voice performances headed by Dakota Fanning.  She did a terrific job.

I actually thought "Coraline" was very scary.  It is one of the scariest movies I have seen in a while.  It was just very creepy witnessing Coraline meet other versions of everyone she knows.  Of course her evil "other" mother was the scariest.  Even though she has buttons instead of eyes, she is very beautiful.  But when Coraline finds out what her true intentions are, she morphs into a tall, skeletal woman and then into a sort of spider creature.  It was frightening. 

"Coraline" is a little slow in parts, but overall it is a very good picture.  It is obviously very influenced by "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wizard of Oz".  Entering an alternate world is not a new thing in film, but the approach this film has is remarkable.  It is something that has never been seen before.

B+  I recommend it.

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