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"CORALINE"
(2009) (voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Extreme *Heavy Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Fantasy/Horror: A lonely and bored preteen discovers a tunnel in her new house that leads to an alternate reality where most everything is the same, save for attentive parents who have buttons for eyes and want her to join them there.
PLOT:
Coraline Jones (voice of DAKOTA FANNING) is an 11-year-old girl who's just moved away from her friends and comfortable life into the Pink Palace Apartments, situated in an old house, with her parents, Mel (voice of TERI MATCHER) and Charlie (voice of JOHN HODGMAN). Since they're preoccupied by writing text for a gardening magazine, Coraline is bored silly, especially since her mom won't let her go out and plant seeds in her garden, what with it raining and all.

The only other kid around, Wybie (voice of ROBERT BAILY, JR.), the grandson of the home's owner, is too weird to her to be her friend. The other tenants, former actresses turned eccentric spinsters April Spink (voice of DAWN FRENCH) and Miriam Forcible (voice of JENNIFER SAUNDERS) as well as retired but still active circus performer Mr. Bobinski (voice of IAN McSHANE) are also weird, but in a different way.

It seems the only one she identifies with is a new doll she's just received that looks like her. When it disappears, Coraline discovers it by a small hidden door in the wall that when opened reveals it's been bricked shut. That night, however, Coraline follows a mouse there to discover a tunnel that leads to an alternate world with an identical house.

Even the same people are there, albeit in somewhat altered form, including her Other Mother (voice of TERI HATCHER) and Other Father (voice of JOHN HODGMAN), as well as Wybie's feline, The Cat (voice of KEITH DAVID), that can speak here and is the only living creature not to possess buttons for eyes.

Save for the latter, Coraline thinks this is a perfect world, especially due to her ultra-attentive and eager to please parents. Accordingly, she's upset when she wakes up the next morning back in her old home with her distracted and busy parents. Yet, she manages to make it back to the other side again, finding it even more enticing than before. The only drawback is that Other Mother says they'll have to replace Coraline's eyes with buttons. From that point on, the girl must decide which world to choose, a point made easier by developments that turn more sinister as they unfold.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CORALINE is the plucky but bored 11-year-old who feels neglected by her always hard-working and somewhat inattentive parents. Accordingly, she finds the alternate world with caring and attentive parents quite attractive. That is, until Other Mother shows her true colors, at which point the girl must not only avoid the sinister monster, but also rescue her kidnapped parents. She shows smarts and courage while doing so.
  • MEL and CHARLIE are her parents who are so busy writing copy for their gardening catalogue that they simply don't have time to pay much attention to their bored daughter.
  • OTHER MOTHER is the alternate world version of Mel -- loving, caring and quite attentive, but also desirous of Coraline joining them by having her eyes replaced with buttons. When the girl refuses, Other Mother becomes increasingly sinister and eventually monstrous in trying to have the girl for herself.
  • OTHER FATHER is the alternate world version of Charlie, also initially friendly and seemingly perfect save for the buttons for eyes issues. Yet, it quickly becomes clear that he's more than subservient to Other Mother and just a pawn in her arsenal of tricks.
  • WYBIE is the local kid and grandson of the house's owner who befriends Coraline after trying to scare her for fun.
  • MR. BOBINSKI is a flamboyant but retired circus performer with a penchant for seemingly dangerous acrobatics and such.
  • THE CAT is Wybie's pet feline in the real world, and Coraline's talking helper in the alternate world who can't stand Other Mother.
  • MISS SPINK and MISS FORCIBLE are two retired stage performers turned eccentric spinsters who befriend Coraline.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this animated fantasy/horror film that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a minor expletive along with some religious and colorful phrases. An older female acrobat is seen in skimpy attire (including only small stickers over her very large and otherwise bare breasts), but that turns out to be just a costume that's unzipped in a surreal fashion. Cleavage is also present as is a little innuendo.

    There's some half-serious punching of others (on shoulders and legs), and a progressively scary-looking villainess tries to catch and presumably eat a girl (which also holds true for a large plant). Other related contact also occurs, and those scenes, various moments of potential peril and various images might be unsettling, suspenseful and/or scary to younger viewers (although older kids will probably get a kick out of that in a funhouse sort of way).

    Bad attitudes are present, as is behavior that some kids might want to imitate. There are several alcohol related references, but no consumption. Some crude humor is present, as is some tense family material.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's a spin around camera shot with a character in the foreground (thus appearing stationary as the background moves behind him). There's also some bouncy POV footage of running through a tunnel.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Mel says that Mr. Bobinski isn't crazy but instead is a drunk (there's nothing to prove that either way).
  • Later, Coraline tells her mom that Mr. Bobinski isn't drunk, that he's just eccentric.
  • April and Miriam think that beverages Coraline offers to them are "pink ladies" (presumably alcoholic), but Coraline says it's just lemonade. As the camera pulls back, however, we hear someone ask if another wants to put a little gin in it, and the other says, "Of course."
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Coraline finds various bugs scurrying along the shower wall, so she crushes some of them, with gross results.
  • Wybie holds up a large slug like it's a big booger from his nose.
  • We see a popcorn machine in Mr. Bobinski's place where a mechanical chicken leans over to eat corn off the cob and then popcorn comes out the other end.
  • Mel says she locked the passageway door because she found some "rat crap" there (not seen).
  • Other Mother offers Coraline some chocolate in the form of cocoa beetles. She takes one, that's alive, and bites down into it, with gooey gut results.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • In a mocking fashion and playing off his name, Coraline calls Wybie "why were you born?"
  • Some viewers might not like a display case in April and Miriam's place featuring stuffed dogs dressed as angels (former pets of theirs).
  • We see (and hear) that Other Wybie is mute, with Other Mother saying she fixed him that way for Coraline.
  • Other Mother obviously has a bad attitude, wanting to lure Coraline into her world under false pretenses, and even kidnaps her parents to try to make the girl comply.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Jump Scenes" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material. And when viewed in 3-D, the degree of that and the following may be heightened.
  • Hearing a noise, but unsure what's up above her in the woods, Coraline throws a rock that apparently hits The Cat, as he lets out a squeal (we know it's him as we saw him before that). She then runs in fright until she sees it's just a cat and is no longer scared.
  • A skeleton type figure rides down a hill on a moped of sorts toward Coraline and she's scared until she sees it's just a boy (Wybie) in a skeleton mask and gloves.
  • Some kids might be unnerved by views of Other Mother, Other Father and others who have buttons for eyes.
  • Mr. Bobinski jumps down and Coraline cowers thinking he's going to land on her, but he does so just above her, with the gardening shears in her hand ending up precariously close to his clothed crotch above her.
  • April reads Coraline's tea leaves and warns the girl she's in danger.
  • During a trapeze number, Coraline ends up dangling from some scaffolding and then falls, but two acrobats below her catch her.
  • Other Mother and Other Father tell Coraline that for her to stay in their world, she'll have to give up her eyes and have them replaced with buttons. That obviously unnerves her and she carefully excuses herself, goes to bed, and hopes to dream herself back to the real world. When that doesn't occur, she's even more scared, including seeing the player piano (with mechanical arms) controlling Other Father and preventing him from saying too much.
  • The Cat warns Coraline that Other Mother wants her as someone to love, or to eat.
  • Other Mother suddenly turns into a tall, nearly skeletal being, with a scary looking face. She grabs Coraline by the nose and throws her through a mirror into another dimension (the mirror doesn't break). Coraline then encounters the floating and partially transparent ghosts of three children with buttons for eyes, and one with a frozen expression of fear and her mouth agape. They tell Coraline that like her, they were also lured away by Other Mother.
  • Coraline tries to run back through the tunnel connecting the two worlds, but now it's scary looking, with cobwebs and such.
  • Coraline sees Other Wybie's hand dissolve away to nothingness.
  • April comes at Coraline with knitting needles, but is doing so to break up some old candy that's stuck together.
  • Despite knowing the risks, Coraline sets off back through the tunnel to take on Other Mother so that she can rescue her parents and set a trio of ghost kids free.
  • Coraline steps on some small plants that nip at her legs, but a larger one sends out tendrils that grab and start rolling her in them, pulling her back toward the main plant. She quickly uses garden shears to cut those tendrils and thus free herself.
  • A huge, mechanical praying mantis (with an old and decrepit Other Father along for the ride on its back) chases after Coraline. But it crashes through a small bridge and sinks into the water, seemingly drowning Other Father (we see his hand go under the water that then freezes solid).
  • Coraline realizes she nearly disturbed some dog bats hanging down from a ceiling. However, when a set of hands suddenly grab Coraline and scary-looking versions of April and Miriam pop out at her, Coraline purposefully rouses the bats that then attack the two old lady figures. All of them (save for Coraline) then freeze solid.
  • Coraline encounters just the clothes of Mr. Bobinski, acting like a skewed variation of him.
  • The alternate world starts dissolving and collapsing away from Coraline and The Cat who flee back into the house that also starts to peel away.
  • We see that Other Mother has turned even more monstrous, with a cracked face and long, spider-like mechanical arms and legs. Coraline then throws The Cat at Other Mother, with the cat clawing at her until her button eyes come out. The room then turns into a large spider web of sorts, with Coraline falling into the bottom of it, and blinded Other Mother scampering down there after her. Coraline avoids her and gets back to the portal door, with Other Mother trying to open it, and the ghost kids helping to close it. Coraline then races back through the tunnel that collapses horizontally behind her, bringing Other Mother's door closer to hers. Coraline then slams the door shut as Other Mother pounds on hers.
  • We see Other Mother's mechanical hand claw out under the door into Coraline's world and then follow her into the woods. When Coraline is about to drop the key into Other Mother's world down a deep well, the hand attacks and then starts to drag her away. Wybie comes to her rescue, but ends up falling into the well, holding onto the top edge. The claw then tries to pick his hands to make him fall, with Coraline throwing material over the claw that rips through that and comes at her, with Wybie then smashing that claw with a large rock.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A boy races by carrying what's presumably a toy sword.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You mangy thing," "Psycho nerds," "Water witch," "Why were you born?" "Zip it," "I'm your other mother," "What's shaking, baby?" "Cripes almighty," "Dingbats," "Dasvidania," "A wuss-puss," "Jeez," "Check out slugzilla," "I found some rat crap," "Are you kidding me?" "Little Rascals chick," "You're crazy," "Jerk-wad" and "You selfish brat."
  • We see Mr. Bobinski doing deep knee bends up on the peak of the roof.
  • Coraline blows a raspberry at Wybie when he rides off.
  • Coraline repeatedly moves a door back and forth, resulting in a squeak that annoys her dad.
  • Coraline hangs by her hands at the top of a door as it swings open, thus riding it that way.
  • About a salve Coraline says he got in her dream, her dad joke that he has a terrible case of writer's rash "right on my" (and reaches for his clothed butt, but Mel cuts him off from finishing his thought or hand motion).
  • Mr. Bobinski's various acrobatic moves might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Wybie holds up a large slug like it's a big booger from his nose.
  • Coraline stands on a pile of books to reach a key on the wall.
  • Coraline belches.
  • Charlie belches.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Sudden lightning might startle some viewers.
  • Some dogs are suddenly at a window.
  • A set of hands suddenly grab Coraline and scary-looking versions of April and Miriam pop out at her.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 crap and 2 uses of "Oh God" and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Part of Mr. Bobinski's big bare belly is exposed in his short and tight shirt.
  • We see a poster for a play or performance April and Miriam were in called "King Leer" and there's an image of a man leering at them.
  • Miriam is quite buxom (exaggeratedly so) and shows a fair amount of cleavage (cartoon style).
  • Coraline and Other Wybie watch April and Miriam perform a musical number in a large theater (otherwise attended by dogs in the audience) and Coraline proclaims that April is practically naked. We then see April dressed as a mermaid, with a standard top and fish tale bottom (nothing explicit). We then see Miriam, dressed far more provocatively, in just a small bikini bottom and only small stickers over her very large and otherwise bare breasts. During this, there's singing of swimming between the legs of bowlegged women, while a two-dimensional cut-out in a boat behind April shows a classic style view of a woman's bare back as well as part of the side of her bare breast. As the performance continues, however, both ladies split in half, revealing that they were just costumes worn by otherwise standard dressed acrobats.
  • In skinny skeletal form, Other Mother shows cleavage on several occasions.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Coraline isn't happy with her home life, new to her old home where her parents are both too busy for her, leaving her feeling bored and rejected.
  • Wybie talks of his grandmother stating her sister was stolen long ago, never to be seen again.
  • Coraline is upset when she learns that her real parents are missing and have been kidnapped by Other Mother. She briefly sees their images on the other side of a frosty looking mirror, and when she pounds on that, the glass breaks, but they're not there.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Coraline isn't happy with her home life, new to her old home where her parents are both too busy for her, leaving her feeling bored and rejected. That's exacerbated when she experiences the other, seemingly better one in the alternate world.
  • Some viewers might not like a display case in April and Miriam's place featuring stuffed dogs dressed as angels (former pets of theirs).
  • The thematic similarities to "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland."
  • VIOLENCE
  • Hearing a noise, but unsure what's up above her in the woods, Coraline throws a rock that apparently hits The Cat, as he lets out a squeal (we know it's him as we saw him before that).
  • Coraline hits Wybie on the leg for scaring her.
  • Coraline punches Wybie on his shoulder.
  • Other Mother kicks Other Father under the table after he says something that might scare Coraline.
  • The Cat catches a mouse in its mouth and bites down hard, killing it, but we then see that mouse transform into its true nature of a rat.
  • Other Mother suddenly turns into a tall, nearly skeletal being, with a scary looking face. She grabs Coraline by the nose and throws her through a mirror into another dimension (the mirror doesn't break). The girl is unharmed, but is stuck in that other dimension.
  • Other Wybie suddenly grabs Coraline back through the portal window and bangs her back and forth between walls several times until she realizes it's him.
  • Mad at Wybie for not believing her, Coraline repeatedly throws her boots at him as he flees the house, hitting him on the first try but not any subsequent ones.
  • Coraline steps on some small plants that nip at her legs, but a larger one sends out tendrils that grab and start rolling her in them, pulling her back toward the main plant. She quickly uses garden shears to cut those tendrils and thus free herself.
  • A huge, mechanical praying mantis (with an old and decrepit Other Father along for the ride on its back) chases after Coraline. But it crashes through a small bridge and sinks into the water, seemingly drowning Other Father (we see his hand go under the water that then freezes solid).
  • Coraline realizes she nearly disturbed some dog bats hanging down from a ceiling. However, when a set of hands suddenly grab Coraline and scary-looking versions of April and Miriam pop out at her, Coraline purposefully rouses the bats that then attack the two old lady figures. All of them (save for Coraline) then freeze solid.
  • Some rats fire circus style cannons at Coraline, hitting her with cotton candy, while two rats trip her, sending her into a balcony railing that bends upon the impact. That balcony then collapses and she hits the ground hard, dazing her, but she's okay after that.
  • We see that Other Mother has turned even more monstrous, with a cracked face and long, spider-like mechanical arms and legs. Coraline then throws The Cat at Other Mother, with the cat clawing at her until her button eyes come out.
  • We see Other Mother's mechanical hand claw out under the door into Coraline's world and then follow her into the woods. When Coraline is about to drop the key into Other Mother's world down a deep well, the hand attacks and then starts to drag her away. Wybie comes to her rescue, but ends up falling into the well, holding onto the top edge. The claw then tries to pick his hands to make him fall, with Coraline throwing material over the claw that rips through that and comes at her, with Wybie then smashing that claw with a large rock.
  • Coraline playfully punches Wybie on the shoulder.



  • Reviewed January 22, 2009 / Posted February 6, 2009

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [Exodus: Gods and Kings] [The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies] [The Imitation Game] [Top Five]

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