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ParaNorman

Movie Details

ParaNorman
  • Genre: Animation, Comedy, Suspense/Thriller
  • Release Date: 2012-08-17 Nationwide
  • Running Time: 93 min.
  • Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
  • Cast: Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Goodman, Casey Affleck, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Bernard Hill, Jeff Garlin, Tempestt Bledsoe, Elaine Stritch
  • Producers: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
  • Writer: Chris Butler
  • Distributor: Focus Features
  • Official Site: ParaNorman Official Site

Another handsome handcrafted charmer from Laika, the stop-motion shop that gave us Coraline, makes up for lacking its predecessor's delicacy by also lacking its dispassion. In scenic Blithe Hollow, whose main industry is the window-dressing of its own witch-hunt history, and whose founding fathers return one night as marauding zombies, a lonely little dead-people seer finds his calling at last. Customarily shunned and necessarily groupthink-resistant, young Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, stands poised to transpose middle school estrangement into redemptive proto-adult empathy. This occurs by way of agreeably domesticated grind house tropes, tricked out with snazzy F/X. At Comic-Con, debut writer and co-director Chris Butler called it "John Carpenter meets John Hughes," and that does just about sum ParaNorman up, though the actual math still feels a little fuzzy. Butler and co-director Sam Fell, of Flushed Away, have more vernacular command than tonal harmony; if they achieve roughly equal parts lulz and lulls, at least it's through a steady pressure of avidity. Better still, animation affords a supporting cast playing contentedly against type: Anna Kendrick as a vain ditz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as a dopey bully, and Casey Affleck as a meathead jock.

Jonathan Kiefer

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