ParaNorman: Review

Posted 28/01/2013


Back in the day, animated children’s movies didn’t usually involve the dead coming back to life (well, unless you count ‘Snow White’). But ‘ParaNorman’ features a crew of creepy zombies—plus a malicious witch, an angry mob, and a ghost who doesn’t understand the concept of bathroom privacy. Not your traditional kiddie entertainment!

The title character of ‘ParaNorman’ is Norman (the voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee), a boy whose ability to see and talk to ghosts makes his schoolmates and even his own family believe he’s got a screw loose. But when his long-lost uncle (John Goodman) tells him about a 300-year-old witch’s curse, it’s up to Norman to save his town from zombies. Along for the ride are his earnest pal Neil (Tucker Abrizzi), his pretty and shallow teenage sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), Neil’s buff and shallow teenage brother Mitch (Casey Affleck) … and, ironically, Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the school bully who’s been making Norman’s life a living hell—even more than the actual undead are.

‘ParaNorman’ is funny, scary, and emotionally affecting—and not just by kiddie standards. In fact, for a children’s movie, it delves into some pretty dark territory (we mentioned that the title character communes with the dead, right?). It’s also got unbelievable visuals—the stop-motion animation is amazingly detailed, and the style is totally original. Equally important: The script and voice performances are as good as those visuals deserve.

This is one of those rare films that are beautifully crafted for audiences both young and grown-up to appreciate. You can definitely bond with your little brother by taking him to see ‘ParaNorman’…just be prepared to explain afterward why you were gripping his hand during the scary parts and/or wiping away tears toward the end.

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