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Friday, August 17, 2012

PARANORMAN Review. Was It Worth The Wait?


Let's find out what RAMA thought of the film.

From the makers of Coraline, that oughtta tell you that LAIKA is not really in the business of making adorable children’s movies, which makes one wonder why PARANORMAN was not released during Halloween season.

This film works for the most part, the humor is funny, and when it comes to stop motion animation, the talented folks at Laika know what they’re doing. Though I’m not an expert, I’ve always had utmost respect for this medium of bringing a story and characters to life, one frame at a time, it takes patience, considering that it really did take about 2 years to make this film. The filmmakers behind this story have always imagined PARANORMAN as Scooby-Doo meets The Goonies, I say they’ve succeeded. But for all its charms and whimsy, and themes of not letting your fear change who you are, PARANORMAN doesn’t stay consistent. It’s about a boy who sees ghost but halfway through the end, his ghost-seeing ability doesn’t seem to really matter…

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

Again, I’m not an animation expert, but the fact that PARANORMAN is both stop motion and in 3D should give some grounds for admiration. Just to think of the labor that goes into such production.
The film does look visually stunning, kids can relate to the characters and the story in terms of their ordeal with bullying and fitting in. The film in its essence is about characters misunderstood.

Without spoiling much, the film plays an interesting twists by showing us who truly are the victims, there’s also an element of appeasing old angry spirit.

Is PARANORMAN too scary for kids? I personally think so, but we’re currently in a year where films that call themselves family films seem to border horror and the supernatural (Brave, Frankenweenie) so I suppose viewing discretion is advised when watching PARANORMAN.

I think they cast the right voice actors for the roles, and the humor fires on all cylinders, there’s one scene involving a vending machine that got me laughing so hard, I couldn’t breathe.

Norman teams up with a jock, the jock’s little brother who happens to be Norman’s only friend, the bully, and Norman’s self-centered sister, so as far as the Scooby-Doo gang aspect is concerned, PARANORMAN hits it spot on. To see these very different characters somehow working together, serves for an enjoyable thrill ride.

Again, if only the ghosts that Norman sees at the beginning parts of the film, could also have significant roles in helping Norman on his mission, sadly that’s not the case.

Above all, PARANORMAN will certainly be a treat for those of you animation die-hards out there who’ve always been fascinated with the technicalities behind it. I’m sure the blu-ray special features would be worth to watch.

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