Thursday, August 30, 2012


This week I saw ParaNorman, the 2nd stop-motion animation feature from Oregon-based Laika. The title character of this comedy-zombie-horror movie is an 11-year-old boy with spiky hair & an asymmetric face. He gets bullied at school for his freakish ability to talk to the ghosts that linger in his dilapidated town like juvenile delinquents. In the end, he must use this ability to save the town from a destructive witch's curse. There's plenty of cartoon mayhem & gross humor. The film's funniest gag parodies Friday the 13th. I found the story's psychologically-based denouement tricky to follow. Certainly the adults in the story are meritless creatures, even more bullying than the kids.

The film's character designs seem inspired by Mad Magazine. The humans are just as grotesquely proportioned as the zombies, & the zombies are more goofy than scary. The filmmakers used a 3D printer to make the models, which have a somewhat brittle feel. A featurette after the credits shows the fabrication of the Norman model.

Very young children will probably be too scared by the zombies & Norman's supernatural visions. I noticed a mother & her pre-schooler leave halfway through. I'm assuming that a throw-away joke at the end of the movie concerning the jock teenager Mitch earned ParaNorman its PG rating. Offended parents have been complaining about it on-line.

§ ParaNorman (2012)
Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
92 min

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