It's not just the 3-D glasses that add an extra dimension to the horror and hilarity of Coraline. For those who can't see themselves forking over hard cash to stare at a cartoon about an 11-year-old brat (Dakota Fanning voices Coraline) whose neglectful parents (Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman) move her to a remote part of Oregon, let me say this: Director Henry Selick, the magic man behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, did the dazzling stop-motion animation. Neil Gaiman (Sandman), a rock star among graphic novelists, wrote the story. And if that doesn't grab you, think of what Japanese anime genius Hayao Miyazaki did with another little-girl story in the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. Coraline isn't in that class, but Selick and Gaiman will take you — and Coraline — for a certified wild ride. Secret doors lead to an alternative universe where parents and toys only seem to be better versions. Like Alice, Coraline discovers a Wonderland filled with surreal characters and dark implications that make a kid grow up quick. OK, sensitive tykes may be scared shitless. But those who tough it out with this twisted, trippy adventure in impure imagination will only be the better for it.
From The Archives Issue 126: January 18, 1973