REVIEW: Coraline 3D

Michael Joyce These days, when computers have done so much to ease the process, animation can se

Coraline 3D (PG)

Director Henry Selick Featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Ian McShane

100 minutes


These days, when computers have done so much to ease the process, animation can seem such a smooth, benign process that we forget what a dark art it is. This adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book, itself a twist on Alice Through The Looking Glass, reminds us what a strange creepy process it is. Director Selick is an animator who has more in common with Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer than Walt Disney.

Selick, who is most famous for The Nightmare Before Christmas, works a stop motion vein similar to Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. Both have struggled to interest movie audiences in their work so Selick has taken a step forward by producing "the first stop-motion animation to be shot entirely in stereoscopic 3D."

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It looks incredible - although I have a suspicion that if you see it in the 2D version you won't be missing out as much as you would be with something like Monsters Vs Aliens.

Coraline (Fanning) is lonely and bored after her parents move her away from her friends to live in a house in the country. Her parents are too preoccupied with their careers to pay her much attention. But life starts to get interesting when she finds a secret door leading to an alternate version of the house with a warm and entertaining Other Mother and Other Father.

Coraline is the work of hundreds and hundreds of people but it has that lovely homemade feel of an Oliver Postgate show like Bagpuss or The Clangers. There is, however, something cold about it.

The characters in Other World are delineated from their real world counterparts by having buttons for eyes yet everybody has dead eyes.

Leaving the theatre, I overheard lots of expressions of enthusiasm and it is marvellously dark and funny. But I wonder if ultimately this offers more visual dazzle than actual enchantment.