Based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, visionary filmmaker Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, brings Coraline, the first-ever stop-motion 3-D film, to life. And now, it's available on DVD.
In Coraline, young Coraline (Dakota Fanning) has recently moved to a horribly dull new town with her neglectful parents who are more interested in their work than in their daughter. Coraline soon finds discovers another world through a small door, much like rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. The new world is a mirror of her own, except it seems perfect -- complete with loving, caring parents and a collection of fascinating neighbors who live to entertain Coraline. However, Coraline finds that this "perfect" world has a price... and she's not willing to pay it.
Coraline is a visually stunning masterpiece of a film that is unlike any other children's (and stop-motion) film ever made. Every shot is about building a unique world that feels like an old-school Brothers' Grimm fairy tale (before they were Disney-ized) filled with darkness, adventure, and a life-lesson for children to take away with them. In the case of Coraline, said lesson is to be careful what you wish for.
While the first part of this movie is a little slow, it's essential. These scenes help to lay the groundwork necessary for the final portion of the movie, which closes with a bang. Rather than filling every moment with action and rushing through the plot like many modern children's movies, Coraline takes the time to build an eerie, beautiful world filled with a subtlety that make the film shine. While this approach can make some children fidgety, it's an unmistakable signature of the movie and makes it leap off the screen and pull the audience in.
Perhaps this is why the director decided to shoot the movie in 3D. Coraline is the first stop-motion film shot in 3D, and this DVD includes both the 3D and 2D versions of the film along with four sets of 3D glasses. The 3D aspect of this movie is fun and adds a dimension to it, but at times feels like a gimmick to pull in viewers who are not traditionally fans of stop-motion animation. While the 3D doesn't detract from the film, it doesn't necessarily seem to add much either. The 2D version has the same impact, and is more comfortable to watch since viewers don't have to mess with the glasses.