The book "Coraline" was made without author Neil Gaiman thinking it would reach the success it has. While not being one of his greatest works, it's definitely one of his most widely-known, and nonetheless very well-written. Near the end of production, Gaiman realized that this had to be a movie. So two months before the book was published, he sent the manuscript to one of his favorite directors, Henry Selick of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach."
The result was astounding.
The movie is wonderfully creepy; not as relentlessly unsettling as the book, but just wonderfully creepy. The first scene features a pair of hands crafting (or rather re-crafting; any more information would give a way a lot of spoilers) a traditional button eyed doll. It then cuts to a scene in Ashland, Oregon, where eleven-year-old Coraline Jones explores around her new flat. It's notable that unlike in the book, Coraline is older and has a more vivid (if more obnoxious) personality. She soon meets her neighbor Wybie Lovat, a motorcycle-riding nerd who was following Coraline. The two get acquainted, and Coraline instantly hates him, like everything else about her new home.
Then things change when she meets her "Other Parents", in a world beyond the supposedly bricked up door in her flat. Everything is more wonderful, the crazy old blue man upstairs now actually does have a spectacular mouse circus, the old actress ladies are now young and pretty again, and, best of all, the new Wybie doesn't talk, and everyone has button eyes. Then, halfway through the film, things change for the worse, and it is revealed Coraline is trapped by her Other Mother who has kidnapped her parents. She meets three ghost children whom she must save along with herself and her parents.
One of the greatest things in this film is the score; Bruno Coulais did a fantastic job, and there's also an extremely catchy thirty-second song by They Might Be Giants. The score is worth buying alone, it is probably one of the greatest soundtracks out there.
In conclusion, the movie is a great adaptation of the story. Be warned, though; it can be TERRIFYING, no matter what age you are. However, it is nonetheless quite enjoyable, and the huge amount of effort put into shines through. It is a revolutionary stop-motion film.