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Now or Then – Coraline or The Wizard of Oz?

Coraline or The Wizard of Oz? ” width=”560″/>

Now: Coraline
Then: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

In the animated 3D fantasy Coraline, a bored young girl
(Dakota Fanning) travels to a magical world that she soon discovers isn’t the
fantasy land of her dreams but the dark and creepy kingdom of her nightmares.
In the classic The Wizard of Oz , a bored young girl (Judy Garland) travels to a
magical world full of both wonder and terror, and sets out to find her way back
home. To which of these magical worlds should you travel?

Our Lonely Heroine
Coraline: Coraline is a precocious, 11-year-old adventurer
who is unhappy with her dull, cloudy new neighborhood. She’s also frustrated
that her workaholic parents are constantly neglecting her.
Wizard of Oz: Orphan Dorothy lives on a Kansas farm with her
uncle and aunt, and, depressed by her simple (not to mention
sepia) life, dreams of a better place “over the rainbow.”
The Winner: Wizard of Oz. It’s a tough call, but Judy
Garland will not be denied.

An Enchanted Alternate World
Coraline: After traveling through a magic door, Coraline
finds herself in a beautiful variation on her world, peopled by cooler, nicer
versions of her parents and neighbors, where everything is as she wishes — even
the annoying, chatty kid next door is silent and docile. Needless to say, all
is not as it seems.
Wizard of Oz: After getting caught up in a twister, Dorothy
finds herself in the Technicolor splendor of Oz, a land of munchkins, castles, witches,
and magic, and where she runs into a Cowardly Lion, a Tin Man, and a Scarecrow,
all of whom bear a marked resemblance to the farmhands back in drab old
Kansas. Despite these wonders, Dorothy wants to go back home.
The Winner: Coraline. Blasphemy, we know. But
Coraline’s new world is an eye-popping universe of surreal wonder, and it laps the dated chintz of Oz.

An Evil, Omnipotent Villainess
Coraline: The Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) rules over the
alternate world, where she imprisons people’s souls and sews buttons over their
eyes — and she’s determined to take Coraline, too. To aid her, she has an army
of shape-shifting rats.
Wizard of Oz: Hell-bent on vengeance after Dorothy
accidentally kills her sister, the powerful and terrifying Wicked Witch of the
West wants to kill Dorothy and take her ruby red slippers. To aid her, she has
an army of flying monkeys.
The Winner: Wizard of Oz. The Wicked Witch has inhabited
our nightmares ever since the second grade.

The Animal Sidekick
Coraline: Coraline’s neighbor’s cat accompanies Coraline on
her journey into the other world, and offers important bits of advice along the
way. Indeed, Coraline manages to escape the Other Mother by throwing the cat at
Wizard of Oz: Dorothy’s trusted dog Toto travels with
her to Oz, and is always there to help get her out of scrapes.
In the end, Toto’s the one who unmasks the Wizard of Oz as a fraud.
The Winner: Coraline. Toto’s great and all, but the cat is
way cooler.

The Verdict
Coraline: Wonderfully imaginative and surprisingly dark, it
could become essential viewing for children — unless the kiddies are too
frightened by it.
Wizard of Oz: It’s hard to argue with its classic
status, but it certainly shows its age from time to time.
The Winner: A tie. We’re enraptured by Coraline, but it’s
hard to let go of the habit-forming Oz. Kids will want to see both, over
and over again.

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