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) 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.
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.