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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Colorful “Coraline”

    The latest from Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman does not fail to please. “Coraline,” this year’s first mainstream animated movie is as charming, if a bit sinister and unpredictable, as the trailer suggests.

    This is to be expected after all, especially from a team whose credits include the classic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s, “James and the Giant Peach” to more recent blockbusters “Stardust” and “Beowulf.”

    The stop-motion animation is completely enveloped with minute and extensive details that certainly reflect its three-year production schedule as well as the team’s dedication to quality and craft.

    Nonetheless, the visuals would never have been complete without Neil Gaiman’s original story. His celebrated novels have already enjoyed enormous success within the publishing world. Director Selick adapted Gaiman’s 2006 fairytale for young readers into the screenplay with flourishing depth.

    Imagination takes on a whole new meaning as the audience member follows the title character, Coraline Jones, through an alluring alternative reality that speaks to many of us who are secretly still young children at heart.

    Coraline’s journey does not take her too far from home for as audiences soon find out, the Pink Palace Apartments are magical enough.

    The mini pink Victorian house that Coraline and her parents just moved into is set somewhere in Michigan and its dilapidated appeal is just about the perfectly realized haunted house incarnate. Bored and stuck inside, Coraline stumbles onto one small door in the eerie house’s vacant rooms. It is soon the most appealing attraction in the house and the motif itself is reminiscent of Narnia’s wardrobe or Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement.

    Quirky characters keep her and us entertained, like Mr. Bobinsky or Mr. B. who is your amusing resident circus acrobat who also happens to train with jumping mice. The entire show they perform for Coraline and her friend Wybie Lovat is a splendid, vivid performance that rivals the resplendent garden just outside. What else would be better than to literally escape through a tunnel in the wall to your very own perfect world?

    The bright colors are stunning throughout the movie, almost tangible as with Coraline’s brilliant blue hair, and complements the story’s twists and turns. Coraline’s adventure moves quickly and even as the fantasy soon shifts into a nightmare, the story thankfully, does not rely on clich’eacute;s. Indeed, the jibes and humor in this movie is not always perfect for the very young, hence the PG rating instead of the general audiences rating.

    “Coraline” is clearly strongly influenced by Tim Burton’s quintessential style, evident in previous creations such as “The Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

    Somewhere along the spectrum as defined by Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney, Laika Entertainment has quite effectively produced the first and longest stop-motion animated film shot in 3-D. What truly makes “Coraline” extra special is the fact that it is being offered in 3-D. Focus Features is also distributing the film in the conventional 2-D option is still an option but then seeing the film in theatres would not be essential.

    I still recommend it all the same though. It is no surprise there is already talk about it being the first worthy Oscar-contender of the season.

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