Film Review “ParaNorman”

Directed by: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann
Jeff Garlin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch
MPAA Rating: PG
Distributed by: Focus Features
Running time: 92 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“ParaNorman” is the latest film from Laika, the studio behind one of my favorite films “Coraline”. It is a 3D stop-motion animated adventure but may be too scary for the kids and not entertaining enough for the adults.  The film starts off really great  straight through the middle but fails through a in the end.  I am a sucker though for stop-motion animation and you can just tell how much work actually went into this film. I was very impressed with its blend of CG as well.  It is also the first one of them to utilize a 3D Color Printer to create replacement faces for its puppets.   The 3D effects are very impressive and does add a lot to the film.  This is a decent follow-up feature for Laika but it doesn’t come close to the charm of “Coraline”.

The film takes place in the small town of Blithe Hollow.  The town is cursed by a 3,000 year old witches curse. We meet a young boy named Norman (Smit-McPhee), who is misunderstood by everyone around him, and is also the only person that can save the day.  He has the ability to speak with the dead and it is up to him to stop the undead from taking over and prevent the witch from destroying the town.

When it comes to the voice cast in an animated film, the casting is very important.  The main cast here are impressive choices sporting Kodi Smit-McPhee (“Let Me In”), Anna Kendrick (“Twilight” series), Casey Affleck (“Ocean’s Eleven”) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Fright Night”). The supporting cast includes Leslie Mann (“Knocked Up”), Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and John Goodman (“RoseAnne”). Casey Affleck was the real shocker of the group and is completely unrecognizable.  There are also a lot of little surprise Easter eggs included for hardcore horror fans, so be sure to keep an eye…and an ear out for them.  Personally I may just be getting old myself but having a younger daughter, I wouldn’t want her seeing this film until she is much older.  “Coraline” is a dark creepy film but this one is a little more edgy.  It does have some really great laughs and looks absolutely amazing, so it is guess overall it is fair toss-up.

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