‘Paranorman’ supernaturally good
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
Stop-motion animated comedy “Paranorman” impresses even adult critics with its spectacular visuals and witty allusions.
Released nationally on Aug. 17, ‘Paranorman’ was created by Laika Entertainment, the same people behind the equally visually-appealing “Coraline.” The film scored over $14 million on its opening weekend, earning third place in the box office behind “The Expendables” and “The Bourne Legacy.”
The story revolves around Norman Babcock, a young boy trying to survive middle school in a town called Blithe Hollow. Why the title, “Paranorman”? Norman can see and talk to ghosts, including the ghost of his grandmother, who stays in his living room; this subjects Norman to the ridicule of the entire town. In a town obsessed with a certain witch that cast a curse on them centuries ago, the only person who believes in Norman’s abilities is a chubby redhead named Neil.
Though the movie is intended for children, it contains occasional swears and inappropriate references that made adult audience members in the screening I attended chuckle. It makes tributes to horror thrillers like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th,” contains a good amount of potty humor and does not skimp on scary movie details. Parts of the movie even made me jump, and I am certain that the sight of corpses and death easily scared young children.
What made the movie so enjoyable for me, however, was the multitude of strong messages behind the comedy and the visuals. At the core of the movie is a feeling of genuine rage at the idiocy of the mob mentality and the tendency to terrorize and ostracize those who refuse to blend in.
My favorite scene is one that audiences have to really pay attention to in order to catch. It is a 10-second scene where zombies are shocked at the things they see around them – gluttony, pop culture, strip clubs, immodesty, the crazy cartoons that children seem to enjoy and more. Adding to the message against the need to blend in, these symbols also present a different perspective on things that we have come to accept as a culture.
Of course, “Paranorman” is primarily a comedy, which it also does a terrific job at, with a mix of both subtle and potty humor that is sure to please an audience of all ages.
All in all, “Paranorman” is a movie I would not hesitate to watch again and again, especially during the fall and around Halloween.