You get a lot more corpse-based comedy in the new stop-motion animated ParaNorman than you do in your average kid-flick. Storyboard artist Chris Butler (Coraline) writes and directs alongside Sam Fell (the British director of Flushed Away and The Tales of Desperaux) the tale of a creepy kid who sees dead people.
Basically, Norman is an outcast in his little town, which has a dark history of trouble with a witch. And it’s looking like Norman is following in the footsteps of his even creepier outcast crazy uncle, who seems to have some connection with the whole spooky business.
I won’t spoil it, though it’s not particularly surprising—except for the extent of the aforementioned corpse-based humor. It’s not as dark, nor as original as Coraline, and I thought Coraline was overrated. It’s fun. Pleasant. Better than Frankenweenie, or at least possessing more of a coherent, sensible story progression.
It’s about on a par with Monster House, better (at least to my taste) for being stop-motion rather than (uncanny valley) CGI-ish. And it’s a bit darker, where the older film deals with personal tragedy, this film is more about stupid, scared mobs.
A glance at the IMDB boards for this flick reveals discussion dominated by discussions of homosexuality and abortion. (The Internet is the sick, sad world.) Which I guess proves the movie’s point about mobs and conformity.
Honestly, I’d forgotten in the past week any references to homosexuality in the movie. Then I remembered, and a little surprised anybody reacted. Basically, there’s a gay character in the film. It’s obvious who it is. It’s one of the oldest gags in the book. Benny Hill would use this joke twice a week on his show. It’s the punchline to the “Call Me, Maybe?” video.
Seriously. The world is insane.
Uhhh…voices. There’s mostly a bunch of voices that’ll make you scratch your head and wonder “Is that someone famous?” I picked out John Goodman and Jeff Garlin easily enough, but Anna Kendrick (50/50, End Of Watch), Leslie Mann, Casey Affleck, Christopher (McLovin!) Mintz-Plasse, Tempestt Bledsoe and Alex Borstein were all just at that vaguely irritating level of recognizability.
I guess people do go to see these movies because some live actor is providing a voice, but I remain lightly annoyed by the practice.
They’re fine, though.
The Boy and the Flower both liked but were not particularly excited. I did not take the Barbarienne, because it would have been too scary for her.