Wednesday, July 25, 2012


By D.E.Levine

ParaNorman is an animated feature about an 11-year old boy, Norman Babcock (Kodi  Smit-Phee) who lives in Blithe Hollow and can communicate with the dead and the undead.

Offered by the makers of Coraline and based on stop-motion automation, the film is co-directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler.

Norman's habit of conversing with the undead and watching TV with the ghost of his Grandmother (Elaine Stritch) has made him the local freak among his peers and the other residents of Blithe Hollow.  This view is shared by his father (Jeff Garlin) and sister (Anna Kendrick).

However, his uncle Pendergast (John Goodman) sees Norman as a kindred spirit and decides that the boy is the only one who can prevent a stubborn witches' curse that includes all types of hellish things, including the zombie-like resurrection of the town's founding fathers.

ParaNorman has a fascinating combination of stop-motion and zombie like features, with an underlying story line about bullying by peers and adults.  It's engaging and technically demonstrates the fluidity of Laika Studios' stop-motion animation techniques, enhanced with 3D.

Mixing Tim Burton and Maurice Selick concepts together, the film may be rather scary for very young children but has a definite appeal for older youths and adults.  It's well worth a visit to the movies to see the technically advanced stop motion animation techniques.