In an animated summer which has brought the mediocrity of The Lorax, the slightly disappointing Brave (at least by Pixar’s standards) and the usually unadventurous, pulped out franchise sequels (see Ice Age 4, Madagascar 3), an original idea like ParaNorman is certainly nothing to be scoffed at.
It uses lovely stop-motion animation and unsurprisingly comes from the same studio which made Coraline, with quite clear similarities in both appearance and content, sharing an off-the-wall and rather sinister children’s adventure/horror story.
Norman is a boy who can speak to the dead but no one believes him. He’s bullied and his family think he’s peculiar. What begins as a quirky story of an odd kid quickly becomes a full on zombie-siege, with Norman the only real line of defence against the supernatural threat in his small hometown while the grownups remain clueless. It all makes for a fun romp, beautiful animation and plenty of life among the dead even if it’s not nearly as sharp witted as it should be. Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit provides a high but obvious benchmark for how small town, claymation characters can be given hilarious peculiarities and ParaNorman tries to replicate this without the seamless charm. It is at least creative and e
engaging even if the redundant 3D is barely used for most of the film. And most importantly of all, parents and kids can both have a good time and enjoy the same parts rather than the film relying on two levels of entertainment or humour as so often is the case, although it’s certainly not one for really little ones as they will find it rather scary.
Review by David Rank
ParaNorman is out on 14th September in the UK. Certificate PG (UK). Running time 92 mins.
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.