ParaNorman (2012) Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell. Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. IMDB says: ”A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.”
What was the last semi-scary, sort of creepy, cooky children’s movie you saw? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well don’t worry, Paranorman is here to fill that gap in your life.
Let me start by saying, this is a great movie that will be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart. The main protagonist is Norman, he’s a young boy who is a little bit different, and he can see dead people. The story follows Norman who is very much an outcast, labeled a freak by the other children, as he grows as an individual and teaches the town the error of their ways. Norman’s curse becomes a gift as it uniquely positions him to help save the town and stop a 300 year old curse. The plot seems elementary, but this film is targeted at children, so it should be. It’s a little predictable and some parts may feel forced or repetitive but those things come with the territory.
The individual components of this film are where it really shines. The stop-motion animation really works and it adds something you just don’t get out of the newfangled, over processed digital animation. The artwork used in this film is unique, and it fits particularly well with the 3D. The movie just looks good and beyond that, it’s fun to watch. The voice acting is surprisingly good as well. The characters are well cast and the dialogue flows very smoothly. The plot keeps things simple, it doesn’t force in a love story or add in jokes that are incongruous with what you’re seeing on screen.
This movie isn’t overly scary. The closest comparison I can make is Monster House, its spooky but it won’t frighten younger viewers. It’s full of jokes that will be appreciated by children but it also has a few that will go over their heads and give the parents something to chuckle at. It’s worth noting that the idea for this film was conceived back in the 1980s but Disney turned it down. There’s definitely a nostalgic feel to the film and it is very much worth the watch.
FTS SCORE: 75%
Paranorman opens in theaters Friday, August 17th.