Sunday, August 19, 2012

"ParaNorman" Review

    Tim Burton eat your heart out. This is ParaNorman!

    ParaNorman follows, well, Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an eleven-year old boy growing up in a Salem-like town, born with the mysterious ability to talk to ghosts and is thought of as a freak because of it. His mother (Leslie Mann) tries to be supportive while his father (Jeff Garlin) is just embarrassed. However, he learns from a ghost named Prenderghast (John Goodman) that he is the only one who can stop a witch (Jodelle Ferland) from resurrecting the town's founders as zombies and attacking the town. Teaming up with fellow outcast Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), his sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), Neil's jock brother Mitch (Casey Affleck) and school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Norman goes to stop the witch and save the town.

Exciting stuff.
    I was hoping this film would be good (As I hope every film is good). But man. I was not expecting ParaNorman to be this good. Everything about it is pretty spot on. I don't even really have any problems with it (OK, there is one). First off, easily the best animation of any movie this year. Every frame of the film looks like a still from a monster-lover's paradise. The background is littered with little details that add to the film's awesomeness. Plus, thanks to a new technique in Claymation, the faces of the characters are just as expressive as any live-action actor's is.
    And that's just the animation. Yes, it's fantastic. And yes, the movie is hilarious. I seriously laughed out loud in this film more than in other comedies films I've seen recently. But what really makes this movies is the story and characters. The characters of ParaNorman are the most likable characters since The Avengers. People you want to hang out with, even without the zombie problem. They are all well-developed and are given enough cool moments to make everyone interesting.
    And the story. If ParaNorman doesn't make you look at zombies in a new light than you didn't get ParaNorman. For a story that could have been as simple as "Zombie's attack and they fight them", the film really does throw quite a few curve balls at you and keeps you guessing until the very end. Which does bring me to my one problem with this movie. I don't know if this is a pacing problem or something else, but the movie does not feel very long at all. It's enough to tell the great story, but I did feel like I was walking out of the theater within a hour, not an hour and a half.

Pictured: this best cast of characters
in any animated movie this year.
    I loved ParaNorman. It is easily one of the year's best films. Between the fantastic characters, beautiful animation, the strong story, the memorable music and the creepy atmosphere, ParaNorman is the animated movie this summer needed after Pixar kinda dropped the ball. There were a few pacing issues, but it's not enough to ruin what ParaNorman is. And what ParaNorman is, is the second movie this year to get a perfect score. ParaNorman gets 6 stars out of 6.


  1. Fine review Alex. This flick seemed to have plenty of fun with itself and made me laugh more than I actually expected. Problem is, it does take awhile to get it’s story going but once it does get going, it’s a fun little ride.

    1. I'd agree with that. Still, enough was happening to keep the beginning fun. Thanks for reading Dan.

  2. Just watched it and I really loved it. I think it's the funniest film I've seen this year so far.