ParaNorman: Film Review

A creepy children’s stop motion zombie comedy that pays homage to the horror genre.

ParaNorman tells the frightfully ghoulish tale of Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an outsider who is a disappointment to his father (Jeff Garlin), an embarrassment to his sister (Anna Kendrick) and a victim of bullying all because of his special gift; his ability to see and communicate with the dead. Being able to talk to the dead doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the living, but having made a friend from fellow bully victim Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), who is bullied because of his weight, it would seem that things are looking up for Norman. That is, until his eccentric Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) tells Norman that he must stop the ghost of an old witch rising from her grave, as part of a centuries old curse, and wreaking havoc on the town. Norman must face his fears in order to stop the curse from destroying Blithe Hollows, but finds a terrifying truth buried in his town’s history.

This visually stunning stop-motion animation brought to us by the makers of Coraline, Laika, the film impressively combines stop-motion with CGI, bringing these detailed character models to life using replacement animation. This method is groundbreaking as it uses a 3D colour printer to create replacement faces for each of the character models. ParaNorman, thanks to this impressive technology, is spectacular to watch.

With a quirky style reminiscent of Tim Burton, ParaNorman deals with the all too often frustrating issues of acceptance and identity, which are close to home for writer and director Chris Butler, but this time in a zombified animation. This adventurous animation brings the zombie world to children, whilst paying homage to the horror genre, so adults and children alike can enjoy this creepy tale. With a narrative focusing on the idea that you should be proud of who you are, ParaNorman proves to be fun to watch as it stays clear of preaching morals to children, but may prove to be a bit scary for those younger audience members. The comedy aspect, however, is not quite as successful, as the funniest moments were previously shown in the trailer, not leaving much for the audience to laugh about. But despite this lack of laughs, this thrilling zombie adventure is sure to entertain.

A spectacular stop-motion animation, ParaNorman will undoubtably raise a few fans as it brings the classic horror world of zombies to the animated screen.

ParaNorman is one to look out for.

Written by Shirley Welton, who also blogs at Beyond the Edges of the Frame.

Follow Shirley on twitter @shirley_welton.

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