The short of it is this: Coraline is a wildly imaginative, wickedly creative and very well done film. But it is NOT for kids.
Coraline is the latest release from the imaginative minds of Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick. While I have not seen Selick's earlier stop-animation film, The Nightmare before Christmas, I had to see Coraline for some reason. Coraline will draw you in with the little blue-haired centerpiece of a character who you truly want to root for. You feel sorry, happy, sad, and even afraid for her throughout the movie, leaving you exhausted (in a good way) at the end.
The character development is slow and steady and really gets you involved with this eerie world that is Coraline's. Coraline is very feisty, overly curious, and adventurous beyond her own large imagination. The friends she makes, the people she meets are very very kooky. From the ever young and very eccentric actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, to the flamboyant and entertaining Mr. Bobinsky, the characters are as imaginative as the rest of this world. Coraline comes into contact with Wybie, the next door kid who has no friends - and rightfully so. The two form a bond that is strengthened throughout the film.
As the world around Coraline begins to cave in, she discovers a little door in her new apartment. A door that no one will speak of, no one will tell her about. One little door that leads to another world so large and full of amazement that one should wonder what lies ahead. Coraline and Wybie soon find themselves led through a myriad of adventures, not all of them safe and fun.
The direction, the animation and the storytelling of this movie are all fantastic. The 3D is amazing to a newbie such as myself; it really makes the film that much better. The voicing was dead-on with the talents of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and many others.
While this film will not be for everyone, I would recommend it to most folks. Lots of creepy sequences would lead me to recommend that adults check their children at the door. This is by NO means a film for children.