Movie Review: ParaNorman

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteams the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

PARANORMAN – Opens in 2D and 3D theaters everywhere on Friday, August 17, 2012!

Movie Review by Ann Scott who was invited to preview the movie.

Wow, what an amazing, graphic, fun movie!  ParaNorman is definitely out of the norm.  From the 3-D stop-motion puppets that make up the characters to the thriller story line this is a one-of-a-kind movie.

There are ghosts, witches, zombies, ugly mobs, dismembered body parts and an angry poltergeist.  Sounds scary, but when it is all seen in stop-motion animation and interspersed with funny, endearing life moments it’s not so difficult to watch.

Norman is a very likeable character who has a special gift.  His gift makes him different and unfortunately that does not make his life so easy.   But he soldiers on through all the rough times and in the end his gift is what makes his world a better place.

There are a number of great characters with wonderful messages for the world, like: “don’t lose who you are”, “we all get scared sometimes”, “different doesn’t mean bad”, “don’t let anger get the best of you” and more.  And all the great, laugh-out-loud funny scenes lighten the mood of what could otherwise be considered a pretty dark, scary movie.

So many of the characters are over-the-top stereo types of reality, they are really fun to watch.  Even the “zombies” who at first seem very spooky, grow on you and become somewhat likeable. 

Although this is considered a “family” movie some family members might not like it as much.  Ghouls and creepy characters abound so it might not be enjoyed by those who scare easily.  Age wise I would recommend 9 and up.

This was such an amazing creative endeavor for a film.  The rich artistry of the puppets combined with the painstaking process of creating the stop-motion animation has produced a completely original work of art.  For that alone, it’s worth seeing the film.

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