b>Director:Henry Selick Release date: 12 October Review by Paul Metcalf Coraline is a kid’s movie or it looks like one anyway. It’s surprising though because this movie is dark, sinister and manages to be pretty damn creepy. You can tell it was created by the people who made such movies as James and the Giant Peach and the Nightmare before Christmas. That’s what makes it so good. The story is based around a little girl who is not happy with the life she is living, she’s bored. She’s recently moved with her mother and father to an apartment in a house of occupied by unique and quirky characters (two theatrical divas in the apartment below and a Russian mouse circus trainer in the apartment above). She finds a small door under the wallpaper in one of the rooms and finds herself transported to a different version of the house where everything is just the way she wants it and it’s perfect; maybe a little bit too perfect. Of course perfection in a movie of this type is always a bad thing as the darkness underneath the veil of having everything you want begins to crack and we follow Coraline as she slowly falls into the trap of her “Other Mother” (the perfect version of her mother who lives in the other world). This other mother seems to want her to stay in the other world and forget the reality which bores her, and does not provide her with everything she wants. Coraline is an even more twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. She’s invited into the other world by a small white mouse that she follows through the tunnel that appears behind the small door. We even have a talking cat to that helps Coraline to realise the world around her is not all it seems. Where Alice was a story about growing up and accepting responsibility this is a story about being content with what you have in life because you only realise how special it is when you’ve lost it all. The perfect other world is nothing but a trap, a metaphorical spider web that lures Coraline in as it has lured other children (who she meets as ghosts within the other world). Even the Other Mother herself turns spiderlike as the story becomes darker and the charade is no longer needed. One thing that I was both surprised by and impressed by was the use of 3D within this movie. I am not a fan of 3D movies as I feel it is used as just a gimmick to try making more money, but this movie uses 3D in a more unique way. It is used to flesh out the animation and give more life to the characters within the movie. In the commentary the director says that the real world is made to be more flat, whereas the other world adds more 3D effects so it has more depth and feels more welcoming to both the watcher and Caroline. This is something you definitely notice in the movie, even with the inferior 3D glasses provided with the DVD. I watched both 3D version and normal version of the movie for this review and found that the 3D version has more of an effect and makes the film feel more fleshed out, a definite good use of 3D not like movies like My Bloody Valentine 3D where it was a definite gimmick. The special features for this movie are excellent. A commentary by director Henry Selick provides an insight into how stop motion animated movies are made, and the “making of” documentaries provide an even deeper insight which as a fan of such animation I found very interesting. Deleted scenes are also provided but don’t really show anything new as most deleted scenes were just time saving cuts. This film is a must for fans of movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Corpse’s Bride, it’s dark and sinister as I’ve already stated sometimes too sinister. As a watcher you may find it’s too bleak but for me that something that makes the movie good. It can be argued that it could have been improved by making it less dark, especially for a children’s movie but as we look at the final product we live with what we have and what we have is a good entertaining movie. It can be slow, especially at the beginning but you’ll notice this less in the second half as you are pulled into Coraline’s battle to save herself, her parents and the ghost children. Give it a chance, you just might like it. Rating: 8/10