Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) is bored until she finds a secret door and discovers an alternate, better, version of her life on the other side. When this seemingly perfect world turns dangerous, and her other parents - including her Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) - try to trap her forever; Coraline must use her resourcefulness, determination and bravery to escape this perilous world - and save her family.
Coraline is based on a novella from the imaginative Neil Gaiman, so you’re already in for something unusual. Brought to the big screen by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas), with Gaiman also assisting on the script, it utilises the stop start animation to good effect, especially in 3D. The film itself is a visual treat; a real Aladdin’s cave for children and provides a twist on the standard another world in your wardrobe genre. A slow opening period holds back points of interest, where Coraline Jones moves into the Pink Palace Apartments and eventually discovers another world, albeit a very small one. When Coraline works, it works extremely well, but it lacks that magical touch despite all its charm. As a film it tries to satisfy all ages and by trying too hard, really fails to cater for any. Selick seems caught between the sinister undercurrents of Gaiman’s imagination and the need for a classical fairytale that will appeal to the mass market. In the end it’s a charming experience but average nevertheless.