Coraline is not your typical animated film. It is creepy, almost too scary for the kiddies. But it is visually stunning and has an entertaining story that will keep your attention.
Coraline (Dakota Fanning) has just moved to the Pink Palace apartments with her parents, who write for a garden magazine. Her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) don't pay any attention to her because they are so busy working. She meets Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.) and his cat while out exploring. He gives her a doll that eerily looks like her. One night she is lured to a small, locked door in her house that leads her to a different world. Her mother and father are there but they are different. The difference is that they treat her as the center of the universe. Oh, and they have buttons for eyes. Coraline becomes wrapped up in the world even though she knows something isn't right. Will she be able to escape this world in time once she realizes it isn't what she wants?
The story is almost like a fairy tale, but with very dark overtones. It is reminiscent of Guillermo Del Toro's Spanish films. Just the atmosphere alone will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) surprises with her evil turn as Coraline's “Other Mother”. The edge in her voice makes Coraline realize that she is not to be messed with. The other characters that Coraline encounters throughout the Pink Palace are a treat. Notable is Ian McShane as the acrobatic Mr. Bobinsky. The animation is the absolute star of the film. You can feel the chilliness of the wind and see the fur move on the Cat. Just the opening scene of a doll being ripped and emptied of its stuffing is enough to set the tone of the film.
Coraline is not to be missed. You will stare in awe at the realism of a cartoon while getting the shivers from a story that will make you uneasy. It is pure genius.