It’s been a rough year for animated movies, Brave has turned out to be a dissapointment, in terms of box office as well as critical reception, and with Frankenweenie on the way, ParaNorman has the unenviable task of outdoing a Pixar movie.
It’s Pixar, the Disney owned company, that always keeps creeping in when a conversation about animated movies is about to kick off. So let’s start and end that conversation right now. ParaNorman is a surprisingly good animated movie that outshines Brave in a lot of ways.
The titular ‘ParaNorman’ (who’s never referred to as such) is a wimpy kid who’s ability to talk to the dead is causing people to avoid him. It’s apparent from the beginning onward that a lot of thought has gone into atmosphere. This being a stop motion animated movie as opposed to a digital one, you can tell the painstaking detail and time that must have gone into creating the atmospheric town of Blythe Hollow. Topping this off is the very able voice acting from the likes of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Goodman and many others. They give it their all, and it shows in the end results.
The story itself isn’t all that spectacular though. Norman finds out early on that there’s a curse, which needs to be dealt with in ample time. From there on out we follow Norman and his friend Neil as they embark on a quest to stop the evil witch (there’s always someone behind that pesky curse) from destroying the town.
Even though it’s a fairly straight up story, the aforementioned atmosphere and the cleverly put together cast of characters make it stand out amongst the rest.
What surprised me the most about this movie is the fact that it never shies away from it’s relatively adult content. You can’t put this movie in the same line as say Hostel or Saw, but it’s still a very decent horror story, and it doesn’t shy away from it (especially in it’s final act). The fact that the directing duo of Mr. Butler and Mr. Fell decided to keep this movie going in one specific direction makes it engaging enough for us as a viewer.
If this were to jump from light comedy to full on horror, it would have made no sense at all.
As it stands, besides from the very sluggish middle part of the movie, ParaNorman does a great job and is well worth your time.
If you love horror, you’ll get all the clever references made to big horror movies from the past as well.
Particularly the ones from Friday the 13th and Halloween had me smiling from ear to ear.
If you are still on the fence about checking this one out, please, get yourself a ticket.
Just as a sidenote, while the 3D was never distracting, this is another movie that doesn’t really need it.
So if you get a chance to catch it in 2D, do it!