Short Review

Rated 4.0

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novella, this stop-motion animated fantasy (in 3-D!) tells the story of a bored and curious young girl who discovers a small door hidden behind the wallpaper in the old house she’s just moved into. The things that the precocious Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) finds behind the door are dismissed as pure fantasy by her downer work-at-home parents, which makes her all the more determined to investigate. And there really is a magical alternate universe on the other side, where all of Coraline’s deprived senses are fed by endless favorite foods, magical gardens and an adventure that quickly goes from thrilling to perilous (parents of little kids be forewarned). In the magic-creating hands of A Nightmare Before Christmas stop-motion animator/director Henry Selick, both the snowy, grey “real” world and the alternately fantastical and frightening other world are stunning. Other than a somewhat dry setup (and mostly superfluous use of 3-D), the overall visual experience here is the kind of aggressively original fantasy that makes going to the movies exciting. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG