Today: February 25, 2024

ParaNorman DVD

ParaNorman is the sort of film that kids thrive under.

ParaNorman is the sort of film that kids thrive
Despite what most adults think, kids
love a bit of horror. From the hags
of The Witches to the goblins of Labyrinth not to mention the monsters
of The Monster Squad and the endless
ghouls of Ghosbusters, kids enjoy a
few scares, albeit under the safety of a PG rating.

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) sees dead people,
well ghosts to be more precise, wherever he goes. As a result his family and whole town look at him as a
weirdo. But when the crazy man who
lives up the hill, Mr. Prenderghast (John
), tells Norman about an ancient witch’s curse that is about to rear
its ugly head, it’s up to Norman to save the town from the onslaught of a group
of zombies responsible for killing the witch. Recruiting his new friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), elder sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), local bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and jock Mitch (Casey Affleck), Norman sets out to rid the town from the dreaded

There is no
denying the Tim Burton-esque
influence on ParaNorman, with its gothic angles and dark sense of humour but
there is also a hint of JJ Abrams Super 8, if it were played for
laughs. Norman has a bit of an
obsession for tacky grindhouse horrors and there are some fun, if all too
sparse, homages in the film. One
minute it’s a Halloween theme tune
ring-tone, the next it’s Neil turning up in Norman’s back yard wearing a Friday The 13th hockey
mask. It doesn’t quite live up to
the level of laughs created by Tim Burton’s horror homage Frankenweenie however, those laughs were aimed squarely at the more
adult audience whereas ParaNorman is clearly something for the kids.

Directors Chris Butler, who worked on Coraline and Corpse Bride, and Sam Fell,
of Flushed Away fame, keep the
action and set pieces coming thick and fast. The plot rarely breaks from the predictable and the themes
are fairly generic; Norman is the loner who everyone must eventually turn to
for help. Thankfully the
supporting Scooby gang, mainly fat sidekick Neil, keep it entertaining while
Norman does his thing, never more than your weird, too serious, put-upon
hero. If ParaNorman does fall
slightly short it’s in the inability to truly appeal to both a young and older
audience. Perhaps Pixar have spoiled us by doing it again
and again, but here you get to the third act and feel ParaNorman is panning out
just a little too predictably with the laughs dying out.

Thankfully the
detailed clay-mation is stunning with characters never feeling anything less
than perfectly rendered to their appropriate voices. The voice talent are all solid with Albrizzi as Neil and
Kendrick as Norman’s Mean Girls-like sister standing out as infinitely more
entertaining than Smit-McPhee’s Norman.

A fun little
ghost story that will appeal endlessly to the young ones while just about doing
enough to keep the parents entertained.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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