Boy sees ghost. Boy gets branded a freak. Boy has to save town. Zero to hero.
That just about sums up most of what LAIKA’s “ParaNorman” is all about. And by “most of”, we mean the plot. But the art behind producing the stop-motion animation feature runs a whole lot deeper than just coming up with a powerful story line.
Sure, because of the buzz leading up to the actual release of the movie, one might think that this was made for kids. If you’ve thought that way for the longest time well, prepare to be in for a pleasant surprise. ParaNorman is, in a nutshell, dark. Darker than most Disney animations you can think of off the top of your head.
Seriously, a witch plus a curse plus waking the dead plus walking and grunting zombies? Dark.
There are of course your typical lovable characters:
- The fat kid who befriends the ghost-seeing freak (that would be Norman) and they eventually become best friends.
- The airhead cheerleader (who says “like” in every 0.5 seconds) who happens to be Norman’s sister.
- The jock who is as blonde as the day is long.
- The parents who attempt to ground Norman because of his weird behavior but soon realizes that their son is in fact a hero.
- The “bad people” such as the witch and the zombies, who were all in fact just really misunderstood.
Characters aside, we must confess than the amazing stop-motion animation took our breaths away. Having just seen the film in 3D, it’s still a little hard to believe that the characters we were beginning to love were all handcrafted. We’ve got to give it to the studio artists – they’ve managed to successfully conjure up a whole new make believe world with such great precision.
And believe us when we say that it sure didn’t look easy (read: extreme patience and perfection).
Our take? ParaNorman was obviously not “just made for kids”. It’s something even you might enjoy. Good stop-motion animation films like these are far and few between. Worth catching? Yes.
And when you do, please do so in 3D.
For more information, visit their official website.