Saturday, August 25, 2012

ParaNorman (Rhoades)

Animates Undead

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

  Haley Joel Osment said it best in “Sixth Sense”: “I see dead people.”
Now we have a kid named Norman Babcock with that same paranormal ability. No wonder they call him ParaNorman.
And that’s also the name of this 3D stop-motion animated feature – “ParaNorman” – now spooking audiences at the Tropic Cinema.
Norman not only sees and can communicate with the undead, he can also deal with ghouls, zombies, and other members of the undead.
That’s a handy talent to have when your New England hometown of Blithe Hollow gets overrun by these spooky specters. Can he save his town from a centuries-old curse?
Kodi Smit-McPhee voices Norman. You’ve seen Kodi as the Boy in “The Road” and Owen in “Let Me In.” So he’s used to cannibals, vampires, and the like.
Tucker Albrizzi does the voice of Norman’s prerequisitely chubby pal. You’ve seen him in “Bridesmaids” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.”
Casey Affleck (“Gone Baby Gone”) and Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) are Norman’s older brother and sister. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Superbad”) is the school bully. Tempestt Bledsoe (TV’s “The Cosby Show”) takes a stand as the sheriff. Elaine Stritch (“Autumn in New York”) plays Norman’s ghostly grandmother. And John Goodman (“The Artist”) is perfect as the town’s crazy guy.
“ParaNorman” comes from the same folks who gave us “Coraline,” that fantastical stop-motion animation feature about a young girl who discovers another world similar to her own beyond a tiny door in the wall. It was a popular hit.
As for “ParaNorman,” I wondered how will this cutesy kids movie will do at the box office? So I checked with my movie bloggers.
 “Is it just me or does this look terrible?” groused one online naysayer.
It’s just you,” someone quickly responded.
Another added, “There is no way this movie is going to flop. There is way too much of an obsession in pop culture with zombies and paranormal topics right now.”
Still another gushed, “This movie looks totally awesome! Can’t wait to see it!”
Yep, this movie is far from dead.

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