Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on February 2010
In this fantastical adaptation of the popular Neil Gaiman novel by stop-action master Harry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach), our blue-haired young title heroine (voice by Dakota Fanning) finds a magical secret passage in the 150-year-old Oregon mansion that she and her, in her opinion, less-than-perfect family have just moved into. On the opposite end of the passage, she discovers her “Other Family” (a Stepford-like group eerily sporting buttons for eyes), which strives for nothing less than to please her in every way. Of course, it’s always best to be careful what you wish for, and when things turn dangerous, Coraline must use all her wits and determination to make things right. This meticulously detailed, believable fantasy is terrifying and beautiful, classic and contemporary. It’s a spook story that’s suitable for all but the most nightmare-prone children, with an intricate narrative full of surprises that will involve their parents as well. And if the story doesn’t interest you, you can just sit back and absorb Selick’s sheer visual gusto. Other voice talent includes Teri Hatcher, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Ian McShane.