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Review

‘Coraline’ makes animation appealing for children, adults

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February 19, 2009

America seems to be finally joining the rest of the world in accepting animation as being a genre open to adults as well as children. Dreamworks’ “Coraline” is a prime example of this recent trend in the nation. With a darker setting and story than most animated films, a wonderful look to it, a great cast of voice actors and a soundtrack to rival the works of John Williams, the film is a great treat to viewers of any age.

The world of “Coraline” is not unfamiliar from our own, with the obvious exception of there existing something called The Other World, created by Coraline’s Other Mother. Throughout the first half of the film the audience sees Coraline exploring both worlds. Everything seems to be better in the other world, but there is a sinister side to it that is not revealed until the last third of the movie. It is an easy plot to follow with a lot to offer younger and older audiences, but it is definitely a darker movie that may scare some younger viewers. The only real complaint to be had is that the pacing of the film is a little slow, but not enough to bore audiences to tears, so it is forgivable.

The stop motion animation and CGI blend together to make one of the most visually interesting and gorgeous films to have graced the silver screen. If one does not even care remotely about the characters, though this is doubtful, the images on the screen will dazzle them and still keep them interested. This movie takes what “The Nightmare Before Christmas” started and takes it to a whole new level.

The characters are truly brought to life by the voices of the actors behind them, and the casting for “Coraline” could not have been better. Dakota Fanning steals the show as the adventurous and charming Coraline, while Teri Hatcher does a great job bringing to life both of Coraline’s mothers. Other names that bring the charm of this story to life are that of Jessica Saunders, Dawn French and Ian McShane voicing Coraline’s neighbors, while veteran voice actor Keith David gives a mysterious personality to a cat that prowls the grounds of her apartment building.

The oddest thing about “Coraline” is that although it isn’t a musical, the music of the film is prominently featured and wonderfully done. Bruno Coulais’ score is incredible and compares with the great works of both Williams and Hans Zimmer. Also, the band They Might Be Giants makes a memorable impression with a song that, although brief, adds to the charm of building up the Other World.

Overall, it’s a well put together film, with something to offer audiences of all ages, but adults will get the most out of it. With its amazing style, incredible music and truly memorable characters, “Coraline” is an animated film that warrants the attention of all movie lovers, no matter if they are seeking a good film, or if they are just a child at heart.

4 out of 5 stars

Nathan Piotrowski is a digital film and television major with a film studies minor. In his spare time, he attempts to be a professional lottery winner.