What I'm Watching: ParaNorman
Sure, this is stop-motion animation, and aimed kinda towards the younger crowd. But it IS a movie about zombies, and also aimed at the horror crowd, so I have zero problem talking about this here!
I *loved* ParaNorman.
Honestly, I'd probably say it's better than Brave, for me, which I also liked quite a lot. But ParaNorman really resonated with me. Mainly because of my interests, and the themes they dealt with.
The basic story is about a kid in high school in New England, who can talk to ghosts. He tries desperately to get through the day, not be noticed, not be made fun of, and just try and survive school when he's seen as a freak. He also has something of a destiny to deal with, so there's that on top of everything else.
This is something so many people can relate to. I was one of those outcast kids, I'm sure many people reading this were, and there are moments where this movie really goes for the gut, and speaks to that part of me, even though it was a long time ago that I had to deal with any of that shit.
While watching the movie, I almost instantly thought, "Wow, this looks so much like my hometown!" and lo and behold, it did turn out to be set in New England, as evidenced by the talk of pilgrims, the Mayflower, and witches. But it got even better when it turns out they actually did some location scouting for inspiration in Salem, Massachusetts and other New England areas, so yeah! It pretty much was my hometown! I'll admit this helped endear the movie to me that much more. But I loved the movie before knowing that for certain.
The story is set up wonderfully, and humourously, and really books along at quite a good pace. The stpp motion is just...amazing. We have come so fat with this sort of stuff, that you forget it's puppets being moved at a fraction of a second at a time, and I swore this was CGI for the longest time!
I will say, I wasn't quite in love with the movie for the first half of the movie, which isn't to say it was bad. It was great, but just kinda doing good stuff that wasn't really latching onto me. But once the second half kicked in, once things got turned on their head, I instantly went from really liking to loving this movie. Quite a few unexpected turns that make the movie something special, a great message or two for kids trying to deal with their own damage in school, and a great wrap up really made for a great film.
There are SO many nice little nods in this movie for the long-time horror fan. My personal favourite is, naturally, a certain hockey mask. ;) I'll leave the rest for y'all to find on your own.
ParaNorman doesn't shy away from the scares for the kids, which is SO SO damned refreshing. This doesn't try to be clean and sanitised. It's very much got a little Grimm Fairy Tales in its storytelling DNA. And like all good family movies, it is good for kids and adults alike, as I can atest to.
If you're a horror fan, I would say this is a must-see, or just an animation fan, or just a fan of good, family movies that don't talk down to you.
ParaNorman is easily in my top ten for 2012.