When it’s over, with the big trend in zombies on the big and small screens, it’s about time a film came out for children. ParaNorman is that film. From the producers of Coraline (2009), Laika's second feature film is about a boy named Norman Babcock, who can speak to the dead. He uses his abilities to save his town from ghosts, zombies, and even adults from an old witch’s curse. The story may be simple and predictable, but it has all the themes children can relate to on a daily basis - courage, self-esteem, friendship, and forgiveness. The most appealing thing about ParaNorman is the stop-motion animation. There’s something very nostalgic about this medium, reminding me of the films by stop-motion masters, Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, widely known for Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964) and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970). I like how the stop-motion allows for more texture in the characters - their clothing (fabrics), hairstyles, and physical shapes (pot bellies, curves, double chins, etc). Even more interesting are the characters' eyes (blinking motion), which resemble old fashion dolls. It's a bit creepy sometimes, and that certainly adds to the mood. Generally, ParaNorman is a lot of fun and there are some good laughs for the adults. It's a perfect matinee show with the kids. I'd recommend this film for viewers 6 years and up and for anyone who can't get enough of all things zombies.
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