Movie Review: Paranorman

Paranorman was the second movie my son and I saw this weekend, and we both liked The Odd Life of Timothy Green better. There are some similarities in the two films… both deal with children who are different from other kids and don’t fit in, both have some takes on bullies. In these themes, Timothy Green deals with them much better, because it seems to have more heart than Paranorman.

There is some heart in Paranorman, and it’s that of the filmmakers. There is amazing technical aptitude in the characters and the world of Paranorman, and you can sense the passion of the artists behind it. The special effects, too, especially in the final scenes are impressive. After the credits, there’s a stop-motion scene where they show an artist creating a Norman model, which is cool, and I think it supports the focus of the studio on the techniques more than the story.

The story is one you’ve seen before, kind of a mix between Monster Squad and Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. If you’re looking for a similar movie with more scare factor, go with The Frighteners, and if you’re looking for kids fighting supernatural creatures, go with Monster Squad.

Paranorman is a horror movie. My son said it was both creepy and scary. The scary parts are of the jump out and scare you variety. The film was released in 3D, but we opted for one less dimension when we saw it. I bet young kids would especially freak out over the jumping out. There’s also some pretty adult humor for a PG movie. An example: Norman’s uncle wants him to promise to do something and he says, “I want you to swear” and Norman says, “What? Like the F word?” While he doesn’t actually say it, the line seemed really inappropriate in a PG movie. Maybe not quite as bad as the usage of “penisbreath” in E.T., but it’s not the only questionable dialogue in the film.

Overall, the movie was good. It’s a good mix of funny and creepy, and if you enjoy stop motion animation, you’ll love the way they’ve brought it to life.

It will be interesting to see how Frankenweenie does in comparison.

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