Saturday at the Movies: ParaNorman

paranormanParaNorman is the latest gem from Lalka Entertainment, best known for Corpse Bride and Coraline. Using many of the same stunning stop-motion filming techniques, Chris Butler makes his directorial debut with this endearing film about a misunderstood kid and his supernatural abilities.

I recently saw ParaNorman in 3-D and can pretty much guarantee you’ll love this flick, regardless of age; if not for the characters then for the AMAZING eyeball feast of animation.

Check out the trailer below and a wicked “making of” featurette after the jump!

paranorman neilParaNorman may seem a little cliché on the surface… Norman is a kid who is not only obsessed with the supernatural, but experiences it every day – he can see and talk to ghosts. But before you decide you’ve ‘heard that one before’, you have to get to know the characters and the film’s unique anti-bullying and (yes!) pro-gay messages. What could have been a superficially trite story is brought to life  thanks to a handful of awesome voice actors including Jeff Garlin and Anna Kendrick.

My favourite is definitely the co-star Tucker Albrizzi who voices Norman’s newly found fat kid friend, Neil. But as in all great animated movies, it’s the visualization that really makes these characters shine.

I doubt any description of this movie’s animation is going to do it justice, but ParaNorman has one of the creepiest and most memorable animation sequences I’ve seen recently. Modeled heavily after Coraline, the angry ‘witch’ that Norman must face in the final scene is an incredible, mind-blowing rendition created using stop-motion models and CGI. It borders on being too scary (or perhaps just too fast-moving and realistically violent) but it is absolutely kid friendly and boldly brings the tormented spirit to life. You can see a little of how much work goes in to this type of animation in this featurette:

ParaNorman isn’t going to surprise you in terms of its basic story line, but that’s not to say there aren’t a LOT of surprises in this film. The creative zombie paraphernalia that Norman collects, the awesome depictions of walking undead and the rewarding horror movie throwbacks all serve to make this a really stand out flick in my books. Out in theatres on August 17, 2012 this gets an enthusiastic 3 dismembered thumbs up.

Paranorman movie

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