Among Coraline’s many triumphs is its employment of 3-D as an immersive technique that doesn’t bring the action to you (via gimmicky shots of stuff leaping out at the audience) but, rather, invites you inside the action’s cinematic space. The rich, layered depth of director Henry Selick’s 3-D images provides a purely sensory thrill, amplifying the down-the-rabbit-hole vibe of his story about a young girl named Coraline who escapes her drab regular life by crawling into a parallel one through a small door in her family’s new rented home. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, whose alternate-reality narrative is analogous to his prior Mirrormask (and, of course, Alice in Wonderland), Selick’s stop-motion-animated story is dark and magical, a saga of adolescent discontent and longing that so dynamically careens between set pieces of elation and dread that one hardly has time to soak in all the twirling, tumbling visual marvels enveloping the screen. What Coraline discovers on the other side of the secret door is a warm, cheery facsimile of her domestic world, where a doting “other mother” lavishes love and attention on her with such glee that Coraline is initially able to overlook the fact that things seem too good to be true, and that her replica parents (and everyone else in sight) has menacing black buttons for eyes. Those button eyes affectingly speak to Coraline’s desire to be seen (and intimate the threat of her other-mother’s gaze), and are emblematic of the chilling, subtly handled means by which Selick evokes primal adolescent fears and anxieties. With sinister surrealism and effervescent showmanship, Coraline spins a fanciful yarn whose every facet seems drawn from its plucky protagonist’s psyche.