The creep-tastic PARANORMAN is Capone's favorite animated film of the year so far!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
The latest stop-motion animated film to hit screens is almost too easy to review. It's about a boy who grows up watching horror movies, can see and talk to the dead, and is his school's primary outcast as a result. If you can identify with even one of those things, PARANORMAN is going to have you doing a little happy dance as you leave the theater.
Sure, there are messages about being kind to people with special gifts, instead of ostracizing or bullying them, but really Norman Babcock (voiced by LET ME IN's Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a kid who digs scary movies, and his parents (Jeff Garlin and Leslie Mann) seem OK with that because at least they consider that somewhat more normal behavior than Norman's other interest -- talking to his dead grandmother (Elaine Stritch), who often joins him on the couch to watch said films. No one else can see her or the dozens of other ghosts Norman chats with on a daily basis, often on his way to school. They are certainly nicer to him than his teenage sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) or the school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
The town Norman lives in seems to base its entire year around celebrating some witch hunt/killing that went on several hundred years earlier. But Norman finds out when his creepy Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) dies that his family has played a role in keeping the witch from returning and taking revenge on the town, a role that Norman has now inherited. Enlisting his friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Courtney and her would-be boyfriend and resident dumb jock Mitch (Casey Affleck), they try to figure out not only how to stop the witch from returning but also how to break the curse that keeps her wanting to destroy the town in the first place.
The detail to the visuals in PARANORMAN are almost too perfect and awe-inspiring to really take in with one viewing. But let me make this very clear: despite this being an animated work, there are some kids that are going to be very disturbed by the sight of zombies and other scary creatures in this movie. If your child is into creepy stuff, he or she will probably get a huge kick out of this movie. But if they scare or are otherwise freaked out easily, you may want to hold off. In other words, be a responsible parent, get to know your kid's interests, and make a wise decision. That being said, if your kid does like this movie, you're raising them right.
Co-directors Chris Butler (a storyboard artist on CORALINE and CORPSE BRIDE, who also wrote the film) and FLUSHED AWAY director Sam Fell have done an extraordinary job capturing the nuances of a child who is into horror movies (the design of Norman's room is glorious) and the trepidation a kid who sees dead people (and animals) might radiate on a daily basis. Norman is not a standard-issue hero type; he's shy, doesn't trust a lot of people, and is tired of people not believing that he sees what he sees.
But when Norman does get to use his abilities to shine (in a sequence featuring the zombies of the judges, led by Bernard Hill, who declared a young girl a witch all those centuries ago), he's an admirable hero who uses his role as an outcast to save the day. The moment may actually bring a tear to your eye. PARANORMAN is an original, lively, beautifully realized work of mild horror that might just be my favorite animated film of the year so far.
-- Steve Prokopy
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Aug. 17, 2012, 3:25 a.m. CST
Aug. 17, 2012, 3:55 a.m. CST
You're alright in my books, Capone. :0)
Aug. 17, 2012, 4:06 a.m. CST
Pretty much every movie that I wanted to see in theatres this year, was in 3D only, which means I had or still have to wait for the DVD. But I really, really want to see this as soon as possible!
Aug. 17, 2012, 4:48 a.m. CST
by Col. Tigh-Fighter
I've got a real feel for this now. Sounds good.
Aug. 17, 2012, 6:11 a.m. CST
Looks like my 4 year old kid will have to wait a couple years on this one. Watch this with Monster House with him then. I will still be there on my own for this though. Sounds like good fun.
I will pay for the 3d too. It really seems to work well in this style of animation.
Aug. 17, 2012, 7:17 a.m. CST
I don't think I'd take a kid under 5 though. Humor and themes are (awesomely) from another era. I was struck by how sanitized kid fare has become relative to this. Almost worth seeing for that reason alone. And the 3D is very well done and fun (and adds to the quality of this type of animation imo) if you can find a theatre that reliably does a good job with presentation.
Aug. 17, 2012, 8:04 a.m. CST
But ran away screaming when Monster House was on TV the other day. Think this one will have to wait a year or two.
Aug. 17, 2012, 8:30 a.m. CST
Feels like that number get's smaller n smaller.
Aug. 17, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST
I, for one, wish it would go back to where there was only like 3 cel films and 1 Dreamworks CGI and 1 Pixar CGI per year...b/c there are so many now it is hard to distinguish the crap. Like this one...I probably never woulda seen it if not for good buzz
Aug. 17, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST
by Christian Sylvain
Seems like all we get is gold from this genre: - The Nightmare Before Christmas - James and the Giant Peach - The Pirates - Corpse Bride - Fantastic Mr. Fox - Coraline
Aug. 17, 2012, 10:31 a.m. CST
But they all want to see it and I'm going to take them. We pretty much have to go see every stop motion feature that comes out, and I've been looking forward to this one.
Aug. 17, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST
LAIKA used to be the Will Vinton Studios. Then Philip Knight of NIKE stole the company in a hostile takeover, fired Will Vinton, and gave it to his son to run.
Will Vinton invented Claymation. This is Phillip Knight's son- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO1cjNLhOqo I hear he's a pretty good stop-motion animator, though. That's what they say. This is one of the more sickening tales of corporate interference in what should be protected, sanctioned and cherished handmade art. http://www.postmagazine.com/Publications/Newsletters/2003/Week-of-April-25-2003/WILL-VINTON-FIRED-FROM-WILL-VINTON-STUDIOS.aspx Vinton was a true artist, as anyone who has seen "The Adventures of Mark Twain" or his award winning short film can attest to, and firing him from his own company is tantamount to putting Van Gogh out on the street. I will NOT give this movie my money. And although Coraline was a good movie, I found it a bit cutesy and commercial-leaning compared to the Gaiman story. Dakota Fanning? Oh fucking please.
Aug. 17, 2012, 11:33 a.m. CST
by shane peterson
that's because it takes so fucking long to make one of these movies they make sure the movie works by the time they even shoot a frame of it.
Aug. 17, 2012, 11:54 a.m. CST
looks really, really good. fuck pixar!
Aug. 17, 2012, 12:14 p.m. CST
by Joey Stars
Why that it hasn't got more widespread attention and acclaim is beyond me. Just a fun and inventive movie, and funny as hell from beginning to end.
Aug. 17, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST
If I'm not mistaken, this is from the same folks that made "Coraline", which is, hands down, the best 3D movie ever made. So even if you are a 3D hater, and you have every right to be, you might want to consider donning the glasses for this one...
Aug. 17, 2012, 3:50 p.m. CST
by Christian Sylvain
Probably why the Wallace and Gromit films have to be freakin' oscar worthy everytime they come out. Clay animation is a nightmare.
Aug. 19, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST
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