ParaNorman

August 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment

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From the stop-motion animation studio that gave us “Coraline” and “Corpse Bride,” this film has the same basic gothic look that makes it well suited for a story about zombies, witches and a young boy who sees ghosts.  What makes this film infinitely more fun than “Coraline” is its adult sense of humor.  It is riddled with clever references to horror films and literature from the past, from the obvious (a hockey mask) to the subtle (the town’s name is “Blithe,” which I’m sure is a reference to Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” a comedy about ghosts).  Posters on walls, street signs, and t-shirts can all potential be very clever, as can much of the dialogue (eg “Hey Norman, I don’t get why zombies can only eat people. Is it some kind of allergy or something?” “I think it’s more of an allegory, Neil.”).  Some of the humor (quite a bit of it of a sexual nature) and a great deal of the dark story (which is ultimately about murdering children) is not at all appropriate for kids.  I really wouldn’t show the film to anyone under 11 or 12.  This style of animation has its limits and can look clunky in parts but also creates a depth of field that CGI cannot yet copy and, as I said earlier, is well suited to the creepiness that pervades this film.  All in all, it was the best animated film I saw this year.

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