Because Hollywood is so desperate to con people into thinking 3D entertainment is the best thing since sliced bread, studios are re-releasing their back catalogues in digital three-dimensional versions. Here we have a strange animated film from 2009, Henry Selick’s Coraline.
Dakota Fanning voices the annoying title character in this muddled and unpleasant fantasy adventure. Similar to his near-masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas, this is stop-motion animation with gothic, fiddly little characters and very dark undertones. But, unlike the aforementioned classic, this is a rather horrible experience.
Coraline is a whiney little girl who pesters her boring parents for attention. When exploring their new house, she finds a hidden door which leads to a wondrous alternative world. Her parents are interesting, kind and warm to be around, and the house has character and charm instead of the dusty darkness it usually indulges in. But there is one creepy quirk to this weird version of Coraline’s ordinary world – everyone has buttons for eyes, and her alternative parents want her to undergo the same nasty experience so she can join them.
This isn’t for young children, and some moments are truly horrifying – particularly when the ‘other’ dad cries “I’m so sorry! I’m so so sorry!” as he is forced to try to kill his own daughter in a particularly nightmare-inducing way. But I’m not sure it has that much appeal for older audiences either, as the story lacks sophistication and maturity, and descends into mad nonsense in an attempt to tie up the loose plot-lines. Coraline may have convinced some critics of its alleged brilliance when it was released in cinemas, but it left me cold, unconvinced, depressed and thoroughly disappointed. And it doesn’t need to be in 3D.
Coraline 3D (2009), directed by Henry Selick, is available on Blu-ray from Universal Pictures, certificate PG. A 2D version is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.