When Laika studios makes a film I tend to stop and take notice. As such Coraline was already on my radar when I heard they were making it. Mix in a dark and twisty world and story by Neil Gaiman and I was totally on board for it. And honestly, it was one of my favorites of 2009. So let me tell you why you need to see it.
The film is the story of the titular Coraline (Dakota Fanning). She moves to a new apartment in the country with her Mom (Teri Hatcher) and Dad (John Hodgman). She gets to know the colorful neighbors, and a boy her age named Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.). While adventuring around to try and find something of interest in her new home she finds a small door to another world. This world is full of rag-doll versions of the people she knows and seems to be run by her Other Mother who has button eyes. The rag-doll world works to entice her, but there seems to be something sinister lurking just out of view.
The adventure and thrills of Coraline are really something I love with all my heart. What director Henry Selick and his Laika team do with stop motion animation is stunning. There are musical numbers and action scenes that are hard to believe aren’t digital. The claymation really makes it feel more otherworldly, and when the other shoe drops on the hidden darkness it is honestly a fair bit scary. The voice cast does a wonderful job breathing life into their puppets and making the story shine. Honestly, I think I’m going to go watch it right now actually.