I definitely recommend everyone see it, and see it in 3D if you can. In the past I have shied away from initially viewing animated films in 3D, but this was really nicely done. A friend of mine, Ray Chase, told me that he saw 'Bolt' in 3D and loved it.
The look of the movie is gorgeous, and the animation was top notch! This is a film I can't wait to get on DVD to frame through and study different bits of motion. The music was great (go to the main movie site, you'll hear it looping), the choir voices lent a lot of magic and tension in all the right places.
Cartoon Brew has a good opening day write-up on Coraline. Rotten Tomatoes is scoring it very high, close to 90%, and I think it is well deserved.
One thing that impressed me was how far they pushed the stylized look, very distinct characters and the movements fit the body types. Coraline's new friend in the movie, Whybie, has a really interesting way of moving, a slouching, head-tilted, head down sort of posture that I really liked.
A lot of times in animated features I catch myself pulling out of the story experience trying to figure out how certain things were done. I did that, of course in this movie too, but it didn't distract me at all like it usually does. There were a couple of spots where it felt long for me, pacing-wise, but nothing that made me squirm.
(*UPDATE* Oops, I don't know why I thought Burton was a producer on this, must have been a mental wire crossover from watching the '9' trailer right before 'Coraline. So I thus remove that bit. The cat in 'Coraline' did make me think of the black cat in 'Vincent', though...) I won't be a spoiler for the visual nod from the past from Selick, but if you have seen 'Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions', you'll immediately get it when you get to that part in 'Coraline'. I'll leave it at that.
Kudos to everyone at Laika for such an excellent movie. It is not for little kids, and I'm glad they pushed the boundary and didn't knuckle under and pander to the '4 and younger' market. It's a critical success so far, hopefully it will do well financially. I did see a few young children in the audience, they were pretty quiet during the movie, so I wonder what they thought of it, if some of the spookier moments really creeped them out or not.
I'm looking forwards to seeing this on the big screen again, I think I'll watch it next time without 3D, see how my perception of it changes.
UPDATE: By the way, stay all the way through the credits! This won't ruin anything, at the end, the text says: For those in the know: JERK WAD
I asked Jenny Macy about it (she is credited in the movie, did some wire/rig digital removal) and she said that JERK WAD is a password that can be entered in somewhere on coraline.com to get put in a drawing for a free pair of Coraline Nike Dunks. (image downloaded from sneakerfiles.com) I couldn't find the link in the site, it has crashed my browser 3 times now, so I'll just pretend I found it. :\