REVIEW: ParaNorman

8

600full-paranorman-posterBefore jumping into conclusions about the title, it is highly important to note that ParaNorman is not intentionally a children’s adaptation of the Paranormal Activity franchise. The title is merely a reference to the series and is different in almost every way. When it comes to animated children’s films with a dark tone, there are boundaries that must be met in order for them to be suitable for their target audience. ParaNorman may not provide anything new that we haven’t seen before in animated comedy-horrors but it is still a film with absolutely stunning effects and is an awful lot of fun for all audiences to enjoy.

From the studio that bought us the horrifying yet beautiful stop-motion feature Coraline in 2009, ParaNorman contains many roots of those same breath-taking visuals that send us on an eerie, surreal adventure. Its deliberately mature visual approach is an attempt to progress to an even higher level of children’s horror that we hadn’t seen before. It still remains an incredibly fun film but it slightly suffers from a vital piece. As well as being a children’s horror, ParaNorman is supposedly a comedy that is supposed to set their minds at ease for the scares that are seen on screen. It slightly lacks the comical humor that makes a comedy-horror, even aimed for children, great. However, ParaNorman surprisingly engaged the audience on an emotional ride that will melt hearts.

Kodi Smit-McPhee is another fantastic child actor of this generation who has been dragged into the world of animation. In this film, he voices protagonist Norman Babcock, a young boy who communicates with the dead. You could look at this character and think that he is a parody of Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense but Norman takes his supernatural abilities to a new level and is very much a character on his own. Norman’s lack of friends makes his ability to see the dead friendly for kids and is seen as a gift, as opposed to a curse. He is still an extremely likable protagonist with a big, brave heart and is bound to win over audiences of all ages.

Supporting characters consisted of a mixture between humans and supernatural forces. Tucker Albrizzi voiced Norman’s friend Neil Downe, Anna Kendrick as Courtney Babcock, Norman’s elder sister and Jeff Garlin and Leslie Mann as Norman and Courtney’s parents. These characters create a sense of not only modern society in ParaNorman but also innocence by feeling the wrath of these zombies and ghosts. In addition, Christopher Mintz-Plasse goes down a different route, not only into animation but character type. He has usually portrayed a young geeky kid in the past but he plays the school bully Alvin in a very comical, humorously idiotic manner. In addition, in an interesting but unexpected move, Neil Downe’s older brother Mitch becomes the first openly homosexual character displayed in a children’s animated film.

Of course like most animated films, ParaNorman is strong in terms of visual effects and is a heap of fun. Furthermore, despite its predictable climax it has strong character development. In some ways, ParaNorman is “the Coraline of 2012” due to its dark visual approach but when comparing the two, ParaNorman only slightly lacks the charm and the heart that was so breath-taking in Coraline. Nevertheless, for kids and adults to sit down and enjoy, especially during the Halloween season, ParaNorman is a solid recommendation.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 11/12/2012.

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