To say that CORALINE is the best 3D film of all time isn’t necessarily saying much. 3D is a peculiar medium. Oftentimes it will draw far too much attention to itself. The typical 3D film will often go out of its way to include moments and actions that will serve as a showcase for the 3D effects. Would that character have thrown that mug if it weren’t for the 3D glasses that I’m wearing that trick me into thinking the mug is flying right at my face? Cinema, which is often at its best when it is immersive, can lose its soul when it is serving just to dazzle the eye. CORALINE is a subtle 3D film, if you can believe such a thing exists. The 3D effects enhance the visuals of the film instead of BEING the visuals of the film. CORALINE would be just as entertaining if you were to take the glasses off, which is what separates it from the rest of the pack.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS director Henry Selick brings his familiar stop motion animation style to CORALINE, the story of a blue haired girl with neglectful parents and an adventurous spirit. Coraline moves into a new neighborhood and a new house with her parents, both of whom write for a gardening catalog. Her parents are so consumed with their work they barely hear Coraline when she speaks. When Coraline finds a sealed over door in one of the rooms in her new house and discovers it is actually a portal to a bizzaro universe, it’s no surprise that her parents don’t seem to notice.
I can safely say that if I had seen this film when I was a young child it would have scared the living daylights out of me. CORALINE is a very dark film with creepy and disturbing imagery. It is essentially a gothic version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, in which the alternate universe discovered is initially breathtaking but eventually dangerous. In the bizzaro world Coraline’s parents are attentive and loving, which is so refreshing to Coraline she seems almost willing to disregard the fact that they have black buttons for eyes. It isn’t until they suggest Coraline herself replace her eyeballs with buttons that she starts looking for a way out.
The best children’s films are the ones with great imagination and this is where CORALINE really gets it right. The stop motion animation is beautiful and creates a unique world that is equal parts creepy and astounding. This film will only be shown in 3D for another week, so if you were planning on seeing it do it quickly. The first great film of 2009.