I am in two minds about this film. One being that's it's done terrifically well considering this is predominantly an art-house film, and it's made it to the mainstream audience. The other being that considering what kind of audience it is aimed at, that being children, it in no way will satisfy their movie craving but leave them terrified.
There is no doubt about it, this is a superb film. The visual aspects of this are stunning. The dynamics of colour and scenery are compelling, as well as the storyline being a completely new idea; A little girl bored in a new home, finding a door to another world where her 'other parents' are waiting to make her happy once more. But little does she know, these parents are not quite right, and nor is the other world. It clearly holds a moral story to the children it is supposedly aimed at as well; don't wonder off and meet strangers.
But recently children are used to Hannah Montana, or friendly monsters trying to save the world. Not a world where parents want to lure them in and take their eyes. They are not used to having to run away from someone they trust. So, as good as this film is, it is nowhere near a child's film.
Of course, children can watch it because there are no apparent deaths or torture scenes. But the true elements of this film are just as scary. It has been created by the director of A Nightmare Before Christmas - Not Tim Burton, but Henry Selick. He has obviously been very interested in this type of Gothic film and has let his imagination run wild. Instead of going off course, he has created a film that's pretty amazing. The story builds throughout the film and doesn't lose focus which a lot of younger aimed films tend to do. It holds an interest for avid movie lovers, art-house fans and for people who generally want to see something that's going to be completely out of their comfort zone.
If you chose to take a child to this film, be prepared for nightmares to come, unless of course your child watches horror movies, then they'll be fine. I would really suggest watching this film if your interested in something new. It's not necessarily funny, but very quirky. Imagine, as Empire Magazine put it, Edward Scissorhands and A Nightmare Before Christmas combined and you might be somewhere near understand this type of film.
So, if you're put off by a horror movie, a child's movie or a film-noir I would suggest giving this one more try. It's not very intense, it's beautiful to watch and it's a breath of fresh air. If your child is demanding to go and see Coraline take them, they will either be pleasantly surprised or shocked. It's in 3D as well so it's a bit of fun for them to wear the glasses. Personally, I do not see the benefit of 3D films but they're taking off so obviously they're doing some good to the movie industry.