Curious young Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) unlocks a mysterious door in her family's new home ...
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Item added by Automatt. Added on 10/21/2008
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Coraline 2

I'll cut right to the chase: despite an exquisite intro sequence, I don't recommend seeing Coraline in theaters. It's possibly worthwhile to rent, but make sure you have a backup movie (or other distraction) on hand.

There are a variety of reasons why this film wasn't particularly good. I'll just list the worst offenders in order to prevent this review from becoming a novel:

Novice level voiceover acting by Miss Fanning and others - I think she's turning into quite a good actress, but as the voice of the main character, she just sounded twangy, flat, and a little irritating. It's a different skill, and probably required better direction.

Excessive and stilted dialogue

Constant reiteration of the plot - And this film borders on condescension with how little credit folks in the audience are given in their ability to follow along...I know it's a kids movie, but they're not dumb either :P

Lazy animation techniques - I can't tell if this was just by virtue of a bad port to 2d from 3d (we actively chose not to see in 3d after reading some criticisms on that version), but there were places where I could literally see them doubling or quadrupling the frames (when this happens movement looks jumpy rather than seamless).

Strange, incongruous plot devices - from a homage to the matrix to straight up videogame-tutorial-esque instructions directed at Coraline on how to "win" the challenge at the end, I can't really figure out what the hell happened to Gaiman's original vision here.

In isolation, each of these problems may have been forgivable, but the concert of all of these plus some other more subjective issues I had with it like awkward character design left me a bit bored.

I think the "Animated Film" bar was forever raised with the release of Wall-E, and with that standard in mind, I'd have to say Coraline was just downright disappointing (and my expectations weren't especially high to begin with :P).

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