Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day Thirty-Eight: Coraline (2009) - Rank 3/5


As an individual who loves Henry Selick's work enough to correct anyone who misidentifies Tim Burton as being the director of "Nightmare Before Christmas," I can't help but be a little disappointed by "Coraline." The premise of a little girl being tormented by doppelganger parents with button eyes in an alternate reality certainly smacks of promise for the stylistically surreal director. However, the execution is mired by a slow pace, conventional voice acting and an unmemorable score. The script also seemed padded too, as if the screenwriters ran short on material from Neil Gaiman's original book. I feel ashamed to say I started to doze at a couple points in the film as a result (I honestly can't remember the last time that's ever happened to me while watching a film, much less while in the theater).

The film is not abysmal by any means. Selick is an ingenious enough director to create fantastic visuals and he's brought some of the most impressive stop-motion imagery to the screen since Ray Harryhausen left the scene. As the film progresses and Coraline's Other Parents begin to reveal their true appearances, the film turns genuinely creepy. But apart from the impressive animation and character design, the film feels very lackluster (and it certainly shouldn't feel tedious with a 100 min. runtime). If you have the opportunity to see it in 3-D, I would recommend doing so, for it's some of the best 3-D I've ever seen. If not, well...let me put it this way: if I had to sum up the review in one sentence, I would say, "Compared with other Selick films, I found 'Monkeybone' more enjoyable than 'Coraline.'" That pretty much says it all.

Watch the Trailer

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