By Michael Emerson
Surprises come in many forms and one surprise came in the form of ParaNorman. The trailers and previews of this movie scream it is intended for children, but after watching it, parents might want to keep young children away unless you let them watch South Park.
The basic setup for the plot is a young boy named Norman who has the ability to see ghosts. He must stop a witch’s curse from raising the dead. Without giving too much away, he gathers up some classmates and tries to defeat the curse.
With the best stop-motion animation I’ve seen in my life, this movie seems almost perfect in its execution of character depth, presentation, exposition and story. The movie wastes no time hitting the viewer with mild to somewhat extreme adult humor and rather gross moments fitting every scene. The movie also has a nostalgic feel of old horror movies and even creates scenes that seem generally terrifying for younger generations and me.
All of the sleek and shine of the cinematography comes with a great cast of B actors who fit the role. It was refreshing to only see a couple of familiar names in the credits. The cast of colorful and memorable characters is made so all the more by the exaggerated yet somewhat realistic character designs amidst action and comedy coming from them.
The movie’s plot is also not cut and dry as people would expect. ParaNorman gives real feeling and emotion in every twist. Not to mention I have to applaud any movie that can make me laugh out loud, which is rare.
While this movie seems to be without flaw, there is a feeling of confusion throughout the film, even towards the end. Also, some of the more adult humor can seem forced, but it doesn’t take away from the best kid’s horror movie to date.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. The writers, director and especially animators all deserve an award for giving more hope to the children’s movie genre and giving Pixar some slack.
ParaNorman is a great movie and will probably be one of the underrated classics of our time; I give it two swollen thumbs up.