Sunday, January 19, 2014

ANI-MOVIES, *ParaNorman

Laika, the creators of Coraline, released this visually pleasing successor that pays real homage to 70s horror movies. This stop-motion animated film pulls in some surprisingly fantastic 3-D effects, and not like some other films that were probably just converted to 3-D instead.

Norman is a clairvoyant young boy in a small mountain town in Massachusetts who can see and hear the spirits of the dead. His family ignore this, and his ability to talk to the dead doesn't make the butt of everyone's jokes at school. However, his ridiculed uncle who can also see the dead warns him that the town will come under a witch's curse from three hundred years ago where those who sentenced her to death will rise from the grave. Norman talks his only friend in school, the resident fat kid Neil, plus Norman's agonizing sister Courtney, and Neil's jock older brother Mitch, and the school bully Alvin who frequently torments Norman into helping him stop this zombie uprising. After trying to use a storybook his now deceased uncle warned him about to try and coax the spirit of the witch back to rest again. This fails though, and the undead rise on their small town, although the zombies are just a few number with ability to turn others into zombies, and the rest of the townsfolk react with hilarious circumstances. Norman soon realizes that the witch that caused this was really an innocent young girl from centuries ago who was sentenced to death because she to could speak to the dead. Norman manages to convince the ghost into seeking her eternal rest and not going for revenge. She concedes, and Norman is then praised by the town, and is accepted by his family for his "gift" too.

I was very impressed with the dark tones this movie was willing to take, and how social acceptance can shape a community, even in a small town. The animation is even more groundbreaking than what was done in Coraline by bringing the story into a larger setting with more characters to add to the mix and a larger plot. A great yarn for the whole family, especially at Halloween.

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