So it's rare that Nick and I get to the theater to see a grown-up movie we're usually stuck in the Saturday matinees, chewing on greasy, under salted, over-priced popcorn, suffering (or sleeping) through some god-awful kid film, each one cheesier than the last. Once in a while, though, one of the kid flicks makes us feel like the $30-plus (!) price tag makes breaking the entertainment bank well worth it.
The movie Coraline is well worth the price of admission and then some.
The premise: Coraline, a smark, quirky, gloomy child, moves with her parents into a sprawling, creaky old mansion at the top of an always-rainy, forever gloomy mountain, where the insufferable tween is constantly being shushed/blown-off/asked for just one more minute by her writer parents. There's never any food in the refrigerator, her parents would much rather tickle their computer keys than show their daughter the attention she craves, and the cast of nutty neighbors who live around her including two washed-up starlets, an aged circus performer, and a cornball of a boy with a mangy black cat are much too weird for words. When Coraline is shooed off by her dad to explore their new house, she discovers a creaky little child-sized door that opens up into a tunnel leading to a parallel world where everyone, especially her button-eyed Other Mother, spoil her beyond compare.
But everything's not what it seems in Coraline's other house; she slowly discovers that the fanciful, colorful gardens, delicious food, animated toys, and two especially her uber attentive set of other parents and friends are part of a make-believe world that ultimately reveals itself much more dark and sinister than her real inattentive parents and gloomy, seemingly loveless home.
Coraline is deliciously creepy full of wonder and darkness and spunk and hair-raising moments that might scare the wee bits just a wee bit. They'll be too amazed by the 3 D stop-motion animation, though, to do the full-blown Mommy, I'm scared! freak-out, though; the special effects are simply incredible designed not so much for flying objects to lurch at you as much as they it is to make you feel like you're standing in the room, peeking around the corner at the action. The colors, the movements, the action, and especially the 3-D animation is simply breathtaking unlike anything we'd ever seen.
You absolutely must, must, must take the kids to see this one in the movie theater, where they can experience the beauty of Coraline on the big screen while I'm sure the DVD will be perfectly fine, it simply will not do the artistry of this movie justice. Trust me on this: Your kids will think it's wonderfully, weirdly fantastic, and so will you.
And once your kids are thoroughly hooked, lead them to the children's novel by the same name the best-selling Coraline, by acclaimed fantasy author Neil Gaiman. In fact, you might want to leave a comment below for your chance to win a FREE copy of Coraline the novel.
I've got four copies.
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