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There are many scenes and images in "Coraline" that are likely to scare children. This is not a warning but rather a recommendation, since the cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing. As long as it doesn't go too far toward violence or mortal dread, a film that elicits a tingle of unease or a tremor of spookiness can be a tonic to sensibilities dulled by wholesome, anodyne, school-approved entertainments.
Books, these days, often do a better job than movies of parceling out juvenile terror. There is plenty of grisly screen horror out there for teenagers, of course, but younger children are more amply served by fiction from the likes of R. L. Stine, Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman, on whose fast-moving, suspenseful novel "Coraline" is based. The film, an exquisitely realized 3-D stop-motion animated feature directed and written by Henry Selick ("The Nightmare Before Christmas," "James and the Giant Peach") has a slower pace and a more contemplative tone than the novel. It is certainly exciting, but rather than race through ever noisier set pieces toward a hectic climax in the manner of so much animation aimed at kids, "Coraline" lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling.
Its look and mood may remind adult viewers at various times of the dreamscapes of Tim Burton (with whom Mr. Selick worked on "Nightmare"), Guillermo del Toro and David Lynch. Like those filmmakers Mr. Selick is interested in childhood not as a condition of sentimentalized, passive innocence but rather as an active, seething state of receptivity in which consciousness itself is a site of wondrous, at times unbearable drama.— A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Sun October 8, 2:00 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
United States of America, 2009, in English, 100 min • official site
Book: Neil Gaiman, Screenplay: Henry Selick, Director: Henry Selick, Storyboard: Chris Butler, Graham Annable, Mike Cachuela, Vera Brosgol, Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David