Its difficult to know the intended audience of animation these days. Some are absolutely geared for adults like Archer, however some remain a mystery even post-watch, like Shrek. This one was also a bit of a mystery. The protagonist is a young girl and the first half definitely relates more to issues in her age range. However the last half reminded me of the distinct change in the Harry Potter series when the urgency went beyond an uninspiring storyline of seeking identity and fumbling through adolescence to become much darker.
Coraline is a spin on Alice In Wonderland delivered as a cautionary tale. Wonderland for Coraline comes in the form of perfectly behaved parents, cake for dinner and making mute those pesky neighbourhood boys who talk too much. However, getting back and forth to Wonderland is somewhat problematic. Later Wonderland develops some unexpected conditions which become progressively more dire.
Stop motion animation is the method here, in fact, I read that this is the longest running feature film made with this technique. Stop motion is not new, I believe Tim Burton built his career on this technique. It also can come across more ‘claymation’ jerky than I think some of the younger set would enjoy. I enjoyed it; the shading, shadow and texture almost made me wish I had seen it in 3-D.
Voice-overs from the British comedy duo French & Saunders are excellent and actually the reason I streamed this film. While intentionally affected and not recognizable from the days of AbFab or Vicar of Dibley, their voices expertly move the film in and out of its darker moments through inflection. volume and dead-pan delivery of sarcasm-laced dialogue.
The ending was a little too aww-shucks for me but that was expected. If you like stop motion or you just want to get the message out to your tweens that your method of parenting may not be ideal but it could be waaaay worse – Coraline is a good watch.