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Coraline
Henry Selick, who directed <em>The Nightmare Before Christmas, </em>has outdone himself with <em>Coraline,</em> his second stop-motion &shy;animated feature.
C

oraline
Directed by Henry Selick
(PG)

***

A girl’s wildest dreams become her cruelest nightmares.

Coraline is “nothing short of magical,” said Tasha Robinson in The Onion. Henry Selick set the bar high when he directed Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, but he has outdone himself with Coraline, his second ­stop-motion ­animated feature. In this macabre adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short novel, a girl discovers a seemingly ideal version of her home before recognizing certain dark implications of this surreal other world. Selick “plays up the colorful fantasy possibilities of Gaiman’s perfect world,” while embellishing the story with Burtonesque touches of gloom. Though “visually dazzling,” Coraline is dark and “strangely joyless,” said Christy LeMire in the Associated Press. There’s no doubt Selick has a wild imagination, but his children’s tale is far too scary. The “cultivation of fright can be one of the great pleasures of youthful moviegoing,” said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Selick sees childhood as “an active, seething state of receptivity” rather than as a “condition of sentimentalized, passive innocence.” Coraline is less a fairy tale than a cautionary tale about the dangers of getting what you want.

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