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ParaNorman

By MATTHEW SINGER
Norman Babcock sees dead people. As the portmanteau title of ParaNorman—the second feature from Portland animation house Laika—suggests, he is mostly cool with that. After all, the spooks don’t judge him, unlike the living. A drama geek with an electroshock hairdo, Norman is an easy target for bullying. The only flesh-and-blood human who understands him is his estranged uncle, a schizophrenic hobo who insists Norman is the only person capable of stopping the town of Blithe Hollow from incurring the wrath of a witch’s curse. All that probably sounds familiar—if not from the countless other movies about misfits in search of redemption, then from the first Laika picture, 2009’s Coraline. Is ParaNorman as good as its predecessor? No. It doesn’t have the depth of imagination, nor the emotional pull. Although it contains moments of impressive visual pow—it’s animated in remarkable stop-motion—it doesn’t match the barrage of sheer awe that made #Coraline# such a wondrous experience. As long as we’re measuring the films against each other, though, let it be said: ParaNorman is a lot more fun. It’s a supernatural caper not far removed from an old Scooby Doo episode. It is also much funnier. A streak of sly, subversive humor charges co-director Chris Butler’s screenplay. If nothing else, ParaNorman has a healthy sense of mischief. Sometimes, that’s all a film needs.
 
  • Genres: Animated, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, September 14, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG [ Language, Scary Action, Scary Images, Some Rude Humor, Thematic Elements ]
  • Critic's Score: B+
  • Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee [Voice of Norman], Tucker Albrizzi [Voice of Neil], Anna Kendrick [Voice of Courtney], Casey Affleck [Voice of Mitch], Christopher Mintz-Plasse [Voice of Alvin], Leslie Mann [Voice of Sandra Babcock], Jeff Garlin [Voice of Perry Babcock], John Goodman [Voice of Mr. Prenderghast], Elaine Stritch [Voice of Grandma], Bernard Hill [Voice of The Judge], Alex Borstein [Voice of Mrs. Henscher], Tempestt Bledsoe [Voice of Sheriff Hooper], Hannah Noyes [Voice of Salma]
  • Directed by: Chris Butler [Director], Sam Fell [Director], Chris Butler [Screenwriter], Arianne Sutner [Producer], Travis Knight [Producer], Jon Brion [Original Music], Tristan Oliver [Cinematographer], Christopher Murrie [Film Editor], Allison Jones [Casting], Nelson Lowry [Production Design], Francesca Maxwell [Art Director], Phil Brotherton [Art Director], Deborah Cook [Costume Designer]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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