Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Coraline

Coraline
 
 
 

Review by Paul Edwards

I had not seen a 3D film in a long, long time.  In fact, the last time I was at a theater that used 3D, it was a gimmick at Universal Studios and the film was, let’s just say, not open for wide release. Those were my younger days. However, 2009 is looking early on that 3D films are looking to break it big on the marketplace. We’ve already had a 3D horror film do pretty well in My Bloody Valentine, but now comes a visual playground based on the book by Neil Gaiman, directed by Henry Selick, the genius that brought The Nightmare Before Christmas to life. With that cred, the film should be great, right?

Coraline is but a young girl, originally from Michigan, who, with her family, recently moved into an old broken-down home. Her parents, (dubbed “Mother” and “Father” for the film’s purposes) are way too busy creating brochures to keep up with Coraline’s active spirit. In order to break free of her Mother’s oppressive rule and her Father’s aloofness, she tries to find different things to make her happy. She finds Wybie, the slightly annoying kid who lives near her. When he isn’t enough, she finds a hidden door that takes her to a new dimension, or maybe a new life. On the surface, it is better; her Other Mother and Other Father are there with open arms. Unfortunately, Other Mother wants to keep her there forever. Not only will Coraline have to use her cleverness to get out this situation, she’ll have to save her family too.

Coraline is not a film that can be rated for its plot. It’s kind of like how Pan’s Labyrinth was not about World War II. Coraline is not about a girl living with her parents in an old house. It’s about escape. I’m not saying the plot was “bad”, it just that the plot was just a mere vehicle for the explosive on screen images. It’s these images that make Coraline one of the best animations films around, even if it’s a bit dry in terms of the relationships between the characters and the audience. T

The film picks up a lot after she finds her way to her Other family, probably not only because this is also where the climax and conflict of the film is, but it is also when the 3D became more and more apparent, thus making the film more engaging for me. Unfortunately, as said earlier, the characters don’t really relate to one another. The odds and ends are just there and almost exploited for their 3D relevance. Some characters, in fact, are so useless that they could be cut entirely from the film and it wouldn’t miss a beat. But with all that in mind, Coraline is a pretty good popcorn film.

3 / 5 stars

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