ParaNorman (2012)

A horrific animated comedy that touches the heart, reaches for your souls and still wants to devour your brains!

ParaNorman

Focus Features in association with Laika and Universal Pictures present…

“Once upon a time, long ago there was a little girl, a little girl who’s different from the other people in their village. She could see and do things that no one else understands that made them scared of her. She turned away from everyone and became sad and lonely and had no one to turn too!

The more she turned away from people the more they got scared of her and they did something terrible, they became more scared and they took her away and they killed her! Even though that she was dead something in her came back and this part of her that would not go away even for 300 years and the longer it stayed the less there was of the little girl!”

It was the 1700’s and her name was Agatha “Aggie” Prenderghast from frequent horror film enthusiast Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill), a Puritan girl condemned to die by her accusers, from here on the curse begins…

Co-Directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away) and Chris Butler (The Tigger Movie) and also written by guy on the right! The film was produced by stop-motion animated studios from Laika the same company that gave us the multi-nominated “Coraline”. Since capturing the movements of characters together with its environment took much more time to process, these feature films does take years to create, they began production since 2009.

The story is about a boy who can see and talk with dead people, his name is Norman who was voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In),alone and secluded he escapes into his own imaginary world full of zombies, ghosts and anything that creeps and crawls in the night! Distant with anyone else except his Grandma Babcock from Elaine Stritch (Cocoon: The Return) who he prefers to converse with and have time to watch his macabre movies and together with his new “kindred spirit” pal Tucker Albrizzi (Spooky Buddies) as Neil, a boy with bullying issues soon find some solace with his friend.

Norman is often ridiculed especially by his Father Jeff Garlin (Daddy Day Care) as Perry Babcock, trying to keep his son at bay and to make him stay out of trouble or was it just to emphasize intolerance just because for being different. While his Mother Leslie Mann (Freaks and Geeks) as Sandra Babcock who tries her best to be supportive and just tells her son to be strong while trying to make him realize that she loves him even if his peculiarity makes her afraid for her child as well!

Little did he know that with his uncanny abilities he was destined to be something more! So enter Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts very own lunatic Mr. Prenderghast from the voice of John Goodman (Monster’s Inc.) who has been searching for his successor to continue the fight to make their town safe from the coming awakening of the undead!

While Hollywood’s rising star Anna Kendrick as Norman’s sister Courtney played by Anna Kendrick (Twilight Saga: New Moon), a typical teenager who just wants to live her life of a cheerleader while finding the “right man” and clearly she founded Casey Affleck (The Killer Inside Me) as Mitch the Football Player who has his own little secret! Christopher Mintz-Plasse as aimless Alvin the bully who had a change of demeanor and turned into a good guy for the latter part of the film!

Beautifully animated in its own kind of way, as we give our applause to the people behind this aspect are Lead Animators Travis Knight, current President and CEO of LAIKA, Inc., with Jeff Riley and Payton Curtis while chores for Animation Supervisor are take cared of by Brad Schiff (Corpse Bride). On the other side of the lens is Tristan Oliver (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) for his Director of Photography, Production Designer Nelson Lowry (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Academy Award and BAFTA Winner Visual Effects Supervisor Brian Vant’ Hul (King Kong).

Most of these guys came from LAIKA and without a doubt has brought in absolute ingenuity from this ventured genre of film making. It takes a lot of time and effort to make these films come into fruition and with the creativity and imagination of these certified talents you will definitely have a long running list of Award Winning projects and shows!

The film covered various topics in terms of society’s underlying flaws besides the fact that it was done in animation intended to merely entertain kids and adults alike. As it gave meaning on how children are given the right kind of upbringing despite of their odd behavior and how the community respond in these circumstances. It starts from the family, our homes and extends to our schools and work place.

The story was short spanned but full of lethargic energy from the gloomy neighborhood and its people. All characters have their part to share for the audience to see how life can be difficult for Norman to cope with while Screenplay was never diminutive of content considering that the main character was able to uplift the message and being able to bring the best in people no matter how frustrating and dismissive life can be!

Another elephant in the room was how is Mr. Prenderghast related to Agatha where in fact he is Norman’s Uncle? I guess it would be nice if they can make a sequel with a more accepting towns folk and a hero that is well deserved to stand his ground against the forces of evil, he might even have a little help with his pseudo “Mystery Incorporated”!

Sleep tight Agatha…

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