Have you ever wished, as a child, for parents who were better? Or a life less boring? Coraline did, and see what happens to unpleasant little children who whinge, complain, and demand both things and attention? Well, they get what they want. But what they want is not what it's cracked up to be...
Coraline is the first stop-motion animated feature shot in 3D. It's cold and creepy from start to finish - the perfect movie for Halloween. Yes, it's astounding artistry, captivating eye candy and good voicework. The attention to detail is truly a labour of love. Just look at the puppets - they have really small hair (a production department takes care of that). And really small clothes. Someone was specially hired to create miniature knitwear, all painstakingly done with yarn as fine as hair and knitting needles as tiny as sewing needles. And that's just a drop in the ocean of meticulous stop-motion filming and 3D artwork.
I haven't read the book by Neil Gaiman, but I understand the movie does not follow faithfully (Coraline's sidekick Wyborn does not exist in the book, for example).
And while the movie is gorgeous, don't expect too much 3D. The effects are there more for subtle depth, and the movie does not fling too many things in your face (I secretly wish they would).
So let's see if you like the story. Bored, neglected, precocious little girl follows some white rabbit mice down a secret tunnel in her new home (a pink Psycho-like Victorian mansion on steroids). On the other side of the tunnel is a parallel home where she meets her "other mother" and "other father" - beings identical to her parents except that they are wonderful! They cook for her, coddle her and want her to stay. But they also eerily have buttons for eyes.
Now, she doesn't get creeped out by those buttony eyes, and even makes repeat visits for free food and entertainment. Only when they want to sew buttons on her own eyes does she make for the hills.
But then again her own real world is eccentric enough, what with vaudeville neighbours, stringy black cats and the Igor-like Wyborn. Oh well.
The pace really only picks up when the whole deal takes a dangerous turn and in the end, Coraline has to muster up courage and resourcefulness to save the day.
Dakota Fanning voices the eponymous lead character, and Teri Hatcher is her mom (real and other world). Playing the father (real and other world) is John Hodgman - you may know him better as the "PC guy" from Apple's "I'm a Mac" ads. Funnily enough, he does use a PC in the movie, a decrepit old thing with green monochrome display no less.
Coraline opens in cinemas Oct 29 in Singapore. Other movie trivia at IMDB.
Meanwhile - TOTALLY off-topic - I'm drooling over the newly announced iMacs - 27-inch display Quad-core with the new multi-touch mouse and wireless keyboard!
This movie preview was at the invitation of OMY, as part of their Blog Awards.