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Movie Review: ParaNorman

By Edited May 25, 2016 1 0

Certificate PG, 92 minutes

Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

ParaNorman stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Norman Babcock in this stop-motion animation (stop motion animation is where actual physical items are used and moved in small increments between frames whilst filming[1]) from the makers of Coraline. With it being animation all the actors are doing voice over, rather than physical acting. The film comes in both 3D and 2D versions; the 3D version was the one watched.

Norman is about 11 years old and lives in the small Massachusetts town of Blithe Hollow. He is a loner, misunderstood by his parents, disliked by his sister and picked upon by the other kids at his school, who call him Abnorman, especially the dim-witted school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Fright Night, Kick-Ass 2) - because he can see dead people (okay, ghosts) which makes everyone think he is crazy and a freak. Norman is also fond of zombie films, and anything to do with them, quite possibly to excess.

Three hundred years previously the town executed a witch (Jodelle Ferland) and are now celebrating the anniversary of that execution. Much of the towns economy is built around it, but the witch cursed the town when she died. The ghost of Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman, Monsters University, The Hangover Part III, The Internship) visits Norman and tells him he is the only one who can save the town from the witch's dying curse when her ghost wakes up later that day; that she would raise from the dead those that condemned her to death. That night, the town is invaded by zombies and it's up to Norman to stop them by stopping the witch; with the "help" of a few other people including his friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Neil's brother Mitch (Casey Affleck, Triple 9), Norman's sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick, End of Watch) and even Norman's nemesis Melvin (who isn't quite as tough in the face of actual danger).

The use of 3D in ParaNorman worked fairly well, better than it usually does; the polarisation method of 3D seems to work better with animation than it does with live action films. The film is comedy horror, rather than pure horror, and only a PG certificate so there are quite a few funny bits and the zombies are, in general, not actually that scary. This is deliberate as the zombies aren't supposed to be that scary either. This is not your typical flesh-eating zombie flick.

The animation style is very similar to that of Coraline, as are the depictions of the people - they're quite unusually shaped in many cases with attributes being exaggerated; if someone is overweight, they tend towards the globular for example. If you liked Corlaine, you'll probably like ParaNorman (although any child that found Coraline a bit scary may also have problems with ParaNorman).

Although ParaNorman is mostly aimed at a younger audience, there is enough in it for most adults to enjoy it also, including bits that said younger audience is unlikely to get, such as the Friday the 13th reference seen in the trailer.
ParaNorman egdcltd 2013-07-05 3.5 0 5
Amazon Price: $2.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 25, 2016)


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  1. "Stop motion." Wikipedia. 20/02/2016 <Web >

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