Film, 2009

Coraline is one of those movies in which it not only seems like everything is done exceptionally well, but the parts come together in a perfect storm that elevates it to a height that you feel like no one could have reached purpose. Cases in point; The sound design is very atmospherically effective; it makes everything seem unsettlingly empty. The music is great; It’s really refreshing to hear something accompany this type of material that’s at least a little bit of a departure from Danny Elfman. The visuals are, obviously, unbelievable. The animation is, if anything, too slick. So slick that someone not in the know beforehand would probably assume that it was CGI. It reserves it’s true visual weirdness until the end, making for one of the most thrilling final third acts in recent memory. I’m sure that a part of my enthusiasm has to do with the fact that the theater I saw it in was running it in 3D, which was the best I’ve ever seen. The writing is unlike any other mainstream American film in recent memory in that it isn’t desperately trying to sell itself to the audience. There aren’t any stupid jokes, there are no winks at the audience and there’s no tacked on sentimentality. But above all else it’s a REALLY GOOD MOVIE. It’s exciting and scary, just like you want it to be.
I never thought that I would ever rate a movie this highly, but I think Coraline succeeds brilliantly at everything it does. I really wish I thought there was something wrong with this film so I could only give it four and a half stars… but I’m coming up blank. 5

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