Ever since Coraline's inception as a feature length film, acclaimed stop-motion animator Henry Selick has been extremely gracious in sharing this latest project with his fans. Throughout the film's creation, Selick has made sure to share new footage along the way, tagged with his own up-to-the-minute thoughts on the whole process. Based on Neil Gaiman's acclaimed children's book of the same name, Coraline is the story of a young girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who unlocks a mysterious doorway in her new Ashland, Oregon home. There, she enters into an adventure in a parallel reality. On the surface, this other world eerily mimics her own life; though much more fantastical. In it, Coraline encounters such off-kilter inhabitants as the morbidly funny Miss Forcible and Miss Spink and a counterfeit Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) who attempts to keep her there for eternity. Ultimately, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home.

Last week, Selick shared half an hour of recently completed Coraline footage with us, presented in all of its 3D splendor. While a few story elements have been changed, the film remains remarkably true to the original source material. The most striking thing about the project is how realized a character Coraline actually is. After a few moments, you forget that you are watching a puppet and come to believe in this real little girl. Selick's work is strikingly original, and the animation here has certainly progressed the stop-motion characters seen in his iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas. The opening of this new film is ensconced in a gray ethereal matter that is surreal in its dreariness. There is something quite odd and off-putting about Coraline's home life. But once she enters the Other World, we are treated to a dazzling display of fantastical awesomeness. The film is truly a Wizard of Oz for this day and age, and it will surely captivate audiences for years to come upon its release into the world.

After viewing Selick's short montage of recently finished footage, we caught Henry backstage for a quick chat about the filmmaking process. To watch our exclusive video interview with the iconic animator, click on the clip below:

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Coraline arrives in theaters February 6th of 2009.

B. Alan Orange