Never saw or read this, despite a lot of Neil Gaiman in my bookshelf.
The stop-motion throughout is amazing. And preposterously expensive and time-consuming, to produce a thing that 80% of the time would be possible live-action, 10% would require some SFX, 10% would need CGI or painted cartoons. It does stand out, but Coraline is the only one who gets real facial expressions, apparently by swapping prostheses and editing out lines. I prefer a more Ray Harryhausen solution of stop-motion and green-screens.
A family with two workaholic drones and a pre-teen emo girl has moved into a weird old house, which never goes badly. How the house is divided up isn’t all that clear; the family gets 2 main floors, the basement for 4 old biddies, the attic for the Amazing Bobinski & his mouse carnival. Little girl should not spurn the beets of Amazing Bobinski. He’s amazing. Must be the beets. But his beats are weak.
Never put a banana slug up your nose. It may crawl up there and eat your brain and walk around as you, and that’s how we get Republicans. Wybie survives by not having much there to start with.
Of course if you find a secret small door in your house, you should go explore it! (the ones in my house lead to a heating duct and a nasty unusable space behind the heater, not to fantastical other worlds, alas.)
The Other Mother goes from extremely friendly and Best Mom Ever, to somewhat more controlling.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” —Leo Tolstoy
In this case, the family is unhappy because Coraline won’t let Mother sew buttons in her eyes. Other than that, everything seems better there, and they see fine. I don’t see why Coraline’s so worked up.
The Cat in the other world is good, Keith David’s a hell of a voice for it, but really it shoulda been Danny John-Jules. “Today I’ve made a whole lotta things MINE!”
So then a quest to collect the four mcguffins, which look a lot like random household objects, a boss fight, a ritual to banish the evil, but all done the way a kid would. The boss fight is very directly inspired/ripped off from a scene in Krull.
As is often the case with Gaiman’s work, it’s cute & “spook-adjacent”, fairy tales and D&D, rather than horror, and this one is more for kids than usual.