This movie is a visual feast. I usually look at the 3D put into movies as gimmicky and silly, but "Coraline" dons wonderful 3D imagery, vibrant colors, and detailed backgrounds. I love how this movie draws you in; almost to the point of absorption. The audience definitely benefits from the worlds details. Henry Selick did a great job with the "normal" feeling you get from the images, because when the world and its surroundings change, they seem that much more dark and sinister.
The story is light-hearted and easy enough to follow. Coraline reaches out to her parents, with very little success and is essentially left to explore and find new things on her own. She meets a neighborhood kid, Wybie, with whom she shares a rocky friendship with. In her apartment building, there is a pair of bickering and poorly aged actresses, a weird Russian who is training a "mouse circus", and of course a door to another world. Oh, and a mysterious stray cat.
The "other" world is compelling because it is seemingly "normal". Coraline soon finds out different as she becomes more and more attached to this "other" world. Coraline's "other parents" are more caring, which is what mostly drives her to keep returning. Her annoying friend isn't as annoying, yet her neighbors seem even more eccentric. So, the balance basically flips and Coraline finds herself closer to her parents in this world and that definitely helps to sate the anxiety of moving and losing her friends.
"Coraline" is filled with both drama and adventure, and Selick does a good job pacing everything so you don't feel bogged down or bored. The actors did a fine job of voicing their characters (although I don't think Teri Hatcher would have been my first choice for her characters). The music wasn't very appealing to me, but it was fitting and helped to keep things interesting.
Up to this point in July, "Coraline" is easily my favorite movie of 2009.