1. The lead and title action adventure hero in this story is a spunky, tough, interesting young girl. She likes to get muddy, go exploring, chase after mice, and she doesn't scare easy. Coraline doesn't just let things happen to her, or wander around helpless, nor does she unknowingly and accidentally defeat or narrowly escape the villain. Armed with her wits, determination, strong spirit, and kick ass I-mean-business hat she fights her way out of a bad situation that keeps getting worse, and saves some souls while she's at it.
2. Coraline has a couple of sidekicks that provide some key backup once in awhile, but she has plenty of scenes of autonomous badassery. Sidekicks include a cat who speaks on occasion (so rad!) and a boy who's wimpy, mumbly, and never becomes a love interest (sweet!), though he does come through in the end. I like to think he was inspired by Coraline's tuffness.
3. This movie is absolutely terrifying and equally as beautiful. The original story (by Neil Gaiman) is clever, haunting, and relentless. The stop motion animation makes one long for more films with such art and talent lovingly displayed in them. I would also say that the stop motion is so much a part of the creepiness in this film that it serves as another character. Though many of the images in this film are based on those found in Gaimen's graphic novel, they are their own, cooked up in a new way by the animators, and none of them are anything like you've ever seen or imagined. They have danced in my head for the past few days, and if I never saw this movie again, I doubt the memory of them could ever dim.
4. I did note the terrifying aspect just moments ago, but special attention should be paid to the fact that this movie is really downright scary. I imagine there are some over-stimulated-by-torture-porn cynics who would argue with me, but this story is scary because it's new and there are no conventions to base it on. You can't see what's around the next corner because this movie is not limited by reality or budget (stop animation is amazingly cheaper than computer animation). Just the idea that in your house somewhere there could be a door leading to a more exciting world not totally unlike your own, but by the time you get there you learn your eyes are going to be stolen, button replacements will be sown on, and your soul will get eaten?! That's the scariest plot in the world. Also this movie is really into never letting up. Each time I thought she had escaped, something even more suspenseful, and insane would happen...I was gasping for breath though a lot of this film.
5. You can see it in 3-motherfuckin-D!!! So very cool.
Go see Coraline, but be careful what you wish for!