SF elements: fantasy world paralleling own
This animated film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel. It's the story of Coraline, a bored schoolgirl, who finds a secret door in her house, through to a parallel world with her "other" mother and father, who are much nicer to her than her real parents, cooking tasty meals and playing with her, giving her attention. So she is attracted back. Then her "other mother" offers her the chance to stay forever...
After a bit of a slow start, I enjoyed this. I wasn't so keen of the extreme grotesqueness of the real-world neightbours, or the additional character, but once in the parallel world, things were better. It had a good feeling of danger and menace, even before things started going really awry. (Although it was a bit jarring at the point Coraline chose not to take up her other mother's offer: there was no real feeling of why she was so outraged.) On looking back at my review of the book, however, I notice the film shares its problems: the challenge is a bit too easy, there is no real growth for Coraline, and this time there is even a tacked on happier ending as her real parents start paying her attention.
So why a higher rating for the film than the book? Clearly, the visuals were enough, at the time, to overcome some of the plot weaknesses. For me, at least.
reviewed 29 April 2012