There’s something very intriguing about watching the trailers and promotion for this film. It just doesn’t look like anything else out there. No offense to Ice Age 4 and Madagascar 3 which both came out this year, by the way the numbers after their respective titles should also tell you a lot, but this film looks and feels different. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is stop-motion, more in the vein of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline than those films mentioned.
However, the fact that it is a stop-motion film is not the only reason it sticks out. The film sticks out because of the very gutsy, very original story. While it is animated, I just do not feel like the story-line is really aimed for kids. Much like Pixar does, I feel like the production company for this film just aimed at telling a great story, not really concerning themselves over who it was aimed for.
So what is the story about? Well, the film is about a young boy who sees and talks to dead people. Because of that, Norman is walking around lost and confused, all the while wondering why he was the one who got to be so different. Not only is he lost and confused, but he is also bullied and made fun of on a daily basis. He is an outsider, something that he has accepted, even pushing out kids who want to be nice to him.
There is a sadness to Norman and the film overall at certain points. I found myself amazed at how much I related and felt for this character who was mostly clay/CGI. Throughout the film he learns that it’s okay to be different and in fact, sometimes it’s better to stick out.
There are zombies, ghouls, scary images and a general spooky tone that will obviously attract people of all ages. That is what will suck the people in, but the original story is what get people to stay and love this film. There are twists and turns that will keep adults and kids alike invested in the film.
Now, even with all the zombies and spooky stuff, it’s still a very funny, very smart film. Kids will appreciate it for the cool images but it can also be appreciated for its wit and intelligence. Some of the visuals leave you in awe and make you think so much, I love when films do that, considering this is a stop-motion film, it’s an even more remarkable accomplishment.
I could go more in depth, but don’t really want to enter spoiler-territory as much of the fun is experiencing how things unfold on your own. Overall, it’s an amazing technical achievement, and such a great story about accepting being an outsider and not being afraid to be different. Has both animated giants, Pixar and Dreamworks, beat for animated film of the year. ParaNorman is definitely something special.