Last week, I was able to see a screening of Laika Entertainment’s ParaNorman and as a fan of stop motion films, I was excited to see it.
ParaNorman tells the story of Norman, an 11 year old boy who loves old zombie flics is a kid with a big heart and a knack for making friends…with the dead. This boy has a special gift and is just trying to live a normal life amid people who just can’t see what he sees. As obstacles and opposition increase, he must find the courage in himself to overcome the negative forces around him and bring his little town together.
The film uses the voice talent of up and coming actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, the ever endearing Tucker Albrizzi, oscar nominee Anna Kendrick of Twilight fame, How to Train Your Dragon’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse and the unforgettable John Goodman. Not a bad line up. The animation was quite good and as always I was blown away with the talent that it takes to pull that type of beauty off. Truly amazing. Character design and layouts were fun as well and it gave a lot of love to the era of classic horror films of the 50s and 60s.
The story at first seemed a little slow and kind of hard to really love the characters the way that I wanted to, but by the middle and into the end of the movie it starts coming together. I loved the ending. The color palette and the moral presented were both bold and tender.
The only major qualm I had was that I did have the expectation that it would be more of a kid-friendly movie, but there were quite a few innuendoes and some blatant crudity that caught me off guard and rubbed me the wrong way. The main character is about 11 or 12 and I would say that I wouldn’t recommend anyone under that age either.
All and all I give it a 3 1/2 stars. If you are a fan of stop motion—like me—you will not be disappointed.