ParaNorman Movie Review
The first time I watched the trailer for ParaNorman, it was a tidal wave of memories rolling in from when I convinced the kids in my third grade class that our school was haunted and built on an Indian burial ground. It’s no fun being the odd ball out, and Norman certainly is no ordinary young boy. Communicating with the dead day in and day out, Norman knows he can never be normal and with the looming disapproval of his father, it is even harder to be himself. After being hunted down by an old relative, Norman learns it is up to him to save his town from the rising dead and an ancient, evil curse that threatens to destroy the humanity of the small Eastern town.
I found the movie to be quite refreshing, though it wasn’t any more or less satisfying in 3D; honestly, it felt unnecessary. Horror cinema jokes from decades past flew right over kids heads (I was the only one laughing at them) which included Halloween, Friday the 13th, and many others. The film’s narrative flowed magnificently and I was enthralled entirely. Though stated as a kid’s movie, I found some parts to be terrifying and downright disturbing, like the reveal of the main antagonist, which scared some kids in the theater so much they began to cry.
Coming from the creative minds who brought you Coraline and Corpse Bride, this stop-motion animation film delivers a delightful scare with a beguiling narrative and lovable characters. Starring Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), John Goodman, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Leslie Mann (This Is 40), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air), and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), it is a film singed in memory as poking fun at the horror genre while simultaneously warping itself into an unsettling horror film. A journey of identity and confidence, ParaNorman is an interesting, satisfying adventure, littered with the rolling undulations of comedy, terror and action.
Kayla’s Score: 5 out of 5
Zachary Kircher, Metal Arcade
I thought that ParaNorman would be good, but not THIS good. It is now my favorite animated film of the year so far. Sporting a consistently funny script, an inventive story and stunning visuals, ParaNorman is another great effort from the studio that brought the world Coraline back in 2009. Granted, the pace slows down in the middle due to the fact that every comedy needs some time to develop its character and have some seriousness, but even so it doesn’t quite fit with the tone of the rest of the film. Nonetheless, this is a very entertaining film, and it’s surprising how well Laika was able to balance the humor with horror and emotion. No, the film isn’t drop dead scary, but it is definitely a very creepy movie with its share of frightening images. Kids will sure be scared by it, while the scares and images aren’t cheap enough to alienate an adult audience; by the way, there are even plenty of nods to Scooby Doo, Friday the 13th, and pretty much every zombie film ever made, which I certainly appreciated. To top everything off, the story is great. Sure, it has its share of clichés and some characters are thinly written, but nonetheless ParaNorman is an emotional ride and the climax is unforgettable. Oh, and did I mention that the voice cast is excellent? Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin… the list goes on. In the end, this is a surprisingly great horror comedy that also has some of the best stop motion animation I’ve ever seen (pretty good 3D, too). I can’t wait to see what Laika comes up with next, and I’ll be surprised if another animated film released later this year surpasses this one.
Zachary’s Score: 4 out of 5