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Coraline moves with her family into a new house, and as her parents both decide to mainly ignore her and catch up with publication deadlines instead of helping her adjust to the strange new neighbours or the huge old house, she explores that house on her own. Through a small door, she finds a parallel world that at first glance looks like her own, but with nicer people – strangely, they all have buttons on their eyes and some of them seem to change character and features daily. She is tempted to stick around that jolly bunch, until she realises that she is about to step in a big honey-trap, made particularly for her.

Made in stop motion technique by Henry Selick who was also responsible for the look of “Nightmare before Christmas” and the like, the film by nature of its animantion has this somehow creepy feel to it. I never felt comfortable with these moving clay things when I was a kid, and through Selick’s oeuvre, today I know why: these creatures are more eerie when they are eerie, and they are more wicked when they are wicked. The witch of the other world (or “Other Mother”) reminds me of the bored kid who transforms all his family into puppets serving his entertainment in the “Twilight Zone” movie, she manipulated and creates worlds around her, and makes things worse by economizing about it, so that you can actually reach the limits of what she created, and where she could not be bothered anymore, and you walk into the “nothing”, the same stuff as in the “Neverending Story”, just white this time around. The vicitms of her moods, namely the creepy and talkative (one world) or silent (other world) Wybie and the boring (this world) or over-tuned and outburned (other world) Father, are evidence that you do not mess with the Other Mother, but when Coraline is not just brave enough to escape, but actually goes back into the other world on a rescue mission… very nice adventure-horrow-comic stuff, with subtle humour (“told you I don’t like rats at the best of times”) and stunning animation.

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