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There's no place like home in Coraline, the first ever stop-motion animated feature created in stereoscopic 3D. Adapted from Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel by writer-director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas), this colourful yet thematically dark fairy-tale has echoes of The Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland as an 11-year-old girl confronts the evil that threatens her fractured family. Many cinemas will be screening the film in 2D, but it's well worth making the effort to catch Selick's imaginative creation as he intended. The eye-popping effects are used sparingly, but there are some neat flourishes like a tunnel appearing to suck us in as it stretches back into the distance, or a giant needle poking out of the screen, causing us to duck for cover as the tip comes perilously close to poking an eye out. Fans of the director's work will appreciate the odd in-joke like the yolk of a cracked egg taking on the appearance of Jack Skellington's face from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The attention to detail is staggering, especially in the colourful backgrounds, like a sprawling garden lit by the twinkle of hundreds of flowers in bloom. The story revolves around young Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning), who moves into the Pink Palace Apartments with her writer mother Mel (Teri Hatcher) and father Charlie (John Hodgman), leaving behind her friends and family. The apartment seems cold and the only child in the vicinity is a curious boy called Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr), who trundles around on a self-constructed, electric bicycle. To stave off boredom and get out from under the feet of her over-worked parents, Coraline explores her creaky, new home and meets the neighbours. Downstairs, she is enthralled by fading British musical hall divas Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Miss Forcible (Dawn French), while upstairs, eight-feet tall Russian giant Mr Bobinsky (Ian McShane) cracks a whip over his circus of jumping mice. One night, Coraline uncovers a secret door leading from the living room to a parallel reality called Other World, where her Other Mother and Other Father provide her with all of the love, support and attention she craves. The plucky heroine feels like she has stumbled into a living dream and considers staying in Other World for good. "You think this other world is a dream come true but you're wrong," warns the black cat (Keith David), who knows that there are myriad dangers in this fantastical realm, which Coraline would do well to avoid. A trio of young spirits guides the girl on her quest as she prepares the face the malevolent force that controls Other World. Coraline falls some way short of the twisted genius of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but this is still a hugely enjoyable escapade, enlivened by energetic vocal performances and Selick's directorial brio. A fantasy musical hall sequence is particularly impressive with hundreds of Scottie dogs running amok or hanging from the rafters like bats as Spink and Forcible fly through the air on a trapeze. It's easy to forget that the gorgeous visuals are the result of seven year's of pain-staking handiwork, rather than digital trickery. Fanning captures the vulnerability and sadness of her heroine, complimented by energetic vocals from the supporting cast including three markedly different roles for Hatcher as a work-weary matriarch, her Stepford doppelganger and something far more chilling. The plot is wafer thin - there are noticeable longueurs - but those gorgeous visuals ensure there is always something to catch the eye.