19 Jan 2013
Today was movie day for my family and we had two options to consider. Both were animated films with paranormal/horror themes, Frankenweenie by Tim Burton and Paranorman. Frankenweenie is a basically the story of Frankensteins monster, but with kids and a dog as the monster. I usually enjoy Mr Burton's work, and I don't mind adaptations, but this story seemed too derivative to me. We all agreed that based on the trailers Paranorman seemed more fun.
So a paranormal Synopsis:
Norman Babcock is a nice polite good natured boy who is ostracised by the kids at school, and misunderstood by his family. They all think he is freakishly weird because of his obsession with the dead. Norman he thinks he can talk to the dead. But one of the biggest problems for Norman is the dead talking back. But Normans gift will be the only thing that can save his town from a witches terrible curse that will cause the dead to rise.
Cue Zombie Hijinx
Paranorman is made by the same people that produced Neil Gaiman's Coraline. So if you liked that style of animation you will enjoy this. Paranorman is less dark and more funny than Coraline, and I enjoy the stop motion style of the film.
The voice talent does a great job of bringing the characters to life. The cast and crew are all experienced, but the only name you may know is John Goodman. Again proving that you do not need to have an A-list cast and crew to produce a good movie.
The witch's curse in the story touches familiar ground with the Salem witch trials. The writers succesfully parallel the paranoid mob mentality which surrounded those dark times with the alienation and persecution that occurs in high school and how easy it is for people to turn on anything they don't understand and subsequently fear. The themes of Paranorman are pretty standard; stand up to bullies, your real friends and family people will accept you for who you are, and doing the right thing might be scary, but it is OK to be scared sometimes.
The themes are familar, as are the characters, I wondered if Norman and his only friend Neil were inspired by the sucessful Diary of a Wimpy kid movies. Or perhaps they are just familar as the sort of kids that always get persecuted. Certianly nothing in the movie seemed rehashed, and the films morality is never forced down the audiences throat. There were enough laughs to keep the film from becoming at all preachy or trite, andthere are lots of horror references throughout the movie which are really fun. Onl it appeared that only my partner and I were horrorfans, as we were the only ones laughing.
A little gripe now, just because it is an an animated film I don't understand why some people think it is OK to bring little kids to it. Paranorman is not Madagascar 7 or the chipmunks, I mean it's not Halloween either but bringing toddlers?
Anyway we all enjoyed the movie, it was funny, with a good story.
6.5 monkeys from me