Movie Review: Paranorman

Ever since the “Monster Mash” became the graveyard smash, there has been plenty of spooky kiddie movies for kids to love during Halloween. So why is “Paranorman” being released on the tail end of summer?

In the spirit of “Coraline”, “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride”, “Paranorman” centres on a kid named Norman who can see and talk to ghosts.

He has ongoing conversations with his grandmother and the rest of his family think he is nuts.

One day, Norman bumps into his uncle who tells him that only he has the power to keep the ghost of a witch in her grave before she destroys the town.

He must read from a fairy tale book at the witch’s grave on the eve of her death. Norman is confused, how can a fairy tale story keep a witch from rising from the grave?

The movie follows Norman’s quest, dealing with his family and what happens when he ignores his uncle’s request.

The movie is beautiful to look at and it is utterly hard to believe that the film is all stop-motion.

The art of stop-motion really is wonderful and intriguing.

How do they get those shots? Also wouldn’t using a computer be easier? But going all the way back to Ray Harryhausen, I have loved stop-motion animation work.

The story is really interesting and I especially loved the van speeding along with them trying to get rid of the zombie. Most of the zombie slapstick was quite hilarious. But I found the ending really boring and the beginning to a while to get started.

There is a lot to like with the movie visually but you have to ask yourself who was this movie made for?

It will scare the pants off any kid younger than five and bore to death any preteen.

There are some adult jokes hidden in the movie but for the most part it isn’t really appealing to adults like say a Pixar film. So I guess ages 6 to 12 who happen to like horror movies or the paranormal.

I really think that “Paranorman” should have been released at the tail end of October. But I think the studio was afraid of competing against “Hotel Transylvania”. I just don’t think this movie works at this time of year and with such a slim audience.

There is a lot of creativity and hard work in this film but I am confused on what is it trying to do. It’s not light and fluffy like other animated films. It’s too scary for members of the whole family. It has some really hilarious jokes but never really capitalizes on them. Yes it is a horror comedy, but for who?

3 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

One thought on “Movie Review: Paranorman

  1. I agree that the climax, or, more to the point, the direct lead up to the climactic meeting with the witch needed more danger. There was a sequence with a car ride but no danger. Why are we afraid of the witch if she’s not attacking?

    I disagree about the tonal problems. The movie started at a fun speed where there was enough supernatural and ghostly phenomena to keep your attention until the main action started. We got to know the characters and then the story ramped up. The only scene I had trouble with for it being a kid’s movie was one where they play up a character’s death for laughs.

    I really enjoyed the flick aside from those two scenes/segments.

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