Starring: Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
You may like this if you liked: Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009), Corpse Bride (Tim Burton and Mike Johnson, 2005), Frankenweenie (Tim Burton, 2012)
Norman Babcock is a school boy who lives as an outsider, this is not helped by the fact he can talk to the dead. One day Norman’s estranged uncle tells Norman his gift plays a part in is his destiny to take over as the one mortal that must protect the town from the curse of a witch it condemned to death centuries ago. Norman reluctantly tries but things go wrong, leaving to the rising of the un-dead. Now Norman must uncover the truth behind the witches curse and save the town.
Paranorman was produced by the makers of Coraline and released around the same time as Frankenweenie, playing a part in the current trend of slightly darker stop motion kid’s films. Though, in my opinion lacking the genuine passion of Frankenweenie or edgier panache of Coraline, Paranorman is tremendous fun for viewers of any age.
The themes here of the unpopular unappreciated outsider who becomes the hero are certainly nothing new, but the actual story itself is good fun and very watchable. There are plenty of nods and winks to zombie films and enough jokes for adults here to keep viewers of all ages entertained. There are actually some surprisingly dark moments that would mean I would not recommend this film to be watched by very young children on their own, but it is all done in a way that there is this invisible feeling of safety which fits perfectly into the genre. As the story reaches it’s predictable and slightly clichéd (this is a kid’s film after all) conclusion any viewer will be entertained, but I must confess this is a more forgettable experience than those other films I mentioned earlier.
Enjoyable but forgettable, Paranorman is not as original as it seems to think it is, but has enough action and comedy to entertain viewers of all ages.