Genre: Animation, Kids, Horror
Cast: Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Synopsis: A young and lonely boy named Norman has the power to see and communicate with ghosts. He must now use this power to end a centuries old curse that raises the dead and is plaguing his small Massachusetts town.
I’m a big fan of Coraline so I had hoped to see this movie when it came out in theaters. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to do so. Thankfully my brother has a Love Film account so we ordered it online and a few days later we had our very own copy (it’s also on the US Netflix).
ParaNorman is a little different to Coraline. I’m not sure if it’s just me who thinks this, but I believe that ParaNorman has a distinctly more ‘American’ feel to it: it’s set in a small American town that celebrates a peculiar American tradition. Coraline is quite a bizarre and surreal movie, in part because the original story was penned by British author Neil Gaiman who also wrote the brilliant novel American Gods, but it could have been set anywhere. ParaNorman on the other hand follows quite a traditional American B-movie path with zombies and witches but it does it as a celebration of the horror genre. There are so many references to great horror movies and it was a lot of fun trying to spot them all. As a horror enthusiast, I really appreciated the film makers’ love of all things horror. I’m sure most other horror buffs would agree. Having said that, this movie isn’t actually that scary so it will be suitable for those of us who can’t deal with the grim and gruesome so don’t worry, there are no buttons being sewed into eyes in this film.
One thing that this movie has in common with Coraline is that it doesn’t patronize its audience. It’s a movie that doesn’t downplay the horrors of the Salem witch burnings or the heartbreak of a family falling apart. At times I had to wonder whether or not this was actually a kid’s movie. In the end I decided that it was, primarily because of the message it conveyed which all kids should hear: in life you’ll face difficulty and challenges but you have to face your fears and overcome these challenges and not let them change you. It’s a really touching message and one that is conveyed through a brilliant assortment of characters. The animation has a playful feel to it and, although not as quaint or whimsical as Wallace and Gromit, it stands on its own feet. The combination of great plot, well-developed characters, and wonderful animation ensures that this film will be a high scorer.
- The stink of illiteracy! The drama teacher was brilliant. In fact, all the characters were brilliantly constructed so it wasn’t difficult to establish personal reactions to each and every one of them. Also, the black police woman was hilarious.
- The main characters essentially operate as a modern day Scooby gang and there’s even a great reference to the franchise in the movie.
- The drama of Norman’s home life. It’s heartbreakingly realistic, particularly the scene where Norman’s dad wishes that his son was someone else.
- Horror references galore!
- Not many that I can think of: it has a happy ending but avoids being to saccharine which is great. I guess the only thing I can say is that the comparison between zombies and mob mentality was a little obvious.
This movie is a lot of fun for all ages. Obviously, don’t let your kids smoke and then watch this movie because that would be irresponsible. If, however, you want to do that then go ahead. It’s a movie that flexible and I think it would go well with all kinds of high. I prefer sativas when watching animated movies but the story here is engrossing and exciting so I don’t think a sativa is necessary. Either way, this movie is a great choice for if your own your own or if your with a group and, because it’s not particularly scary, it’s a film that I think everyone can enjoy regardless of their wuss level.