The 2012 animation hit ParaNorman was released today (August 17, 2012). The film aims to delight children and adults alike with its fun, animated characters and dark subject matter. But what do the critics think of Laika's new film, the production company responsible for 2009's stop-motion film, Coraline.
The film follows young Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), a poor misunderstood boy who uses his ability to speak to Zombies when his hometown is invaded by the undead pests. It's like The Sixth Sense meets Dr Doolittle, but with Zombies. And it's animated. And it's a rated a PG. Initial indications are good. The review aggregator site currently gives ParaNorman an 84 per cent rating, meaning a primarily good reception amongst the film-press. Many reviewers have been moved to praise the films visuals and it's impressive score. "A great benefit of using stop-motion animation in a story like this is not only the way lines between the various realities can be blurred but how the style of film itself evokes a kind of pop-up book fairy tale quality that beckons you inside" said Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times.
It hasn't all been rosy for the stop motion zombie flick, as some critics, whilst admitting it's visual beauty, couldn't ignore what they thought was a shoddy plot. "The 12-year-old boys who go to see "ParaNorman" - and who are the only ones who might enjoy it -- should double up on the sugary treats to stay awake during this gorgeous-looking but zombi-fied stop-motion animated creep show. It's as slow as a corpse, and half as interesting," complained Joe Neumaier of The New York Daily News. With an impressive visual style, original score and inventive characters, ParaNorman looks like it's been received well by the critics. And if you don't enjoy the plot, maybe the aesthetics will shine through for you.