Kenneth's Review of ParaNorman
This film was NOT "beautifully animated and solidly scripted," as claimed by Rotten Tomatoes. Besides having some of the ugliest character designs I've seen since Rugrats, I pin-pointed nearly every line of dialogue before it was uttered. For a film that rubs its "originality," into audiences' faces, there were quite a few stereotypes: Norman comes off as a stereotypical see-I-told-you-so possessor of weird powers; the zombies were stereotypically green, gooey and falling apart in the most predictable ways; Norman's sister was a one-dimentional man worshipper,... in fact, how come every female in this film (besides Norman's mom) was an aggressive type?
The film is desperately trying to be a nostalgic wink to 80's horror films, and 80's films in general, (due to the bam-slam beats of the background soundtrack, Freddie hockey masks, Poltergeist-ish ghouls rising from the ground, and unnecessary bad language.) None of it amounted to anything, since half the characters are yakking on very-2012-era cellphones, and the animation is stylistically similar to Laika's previous, (and far superior,) Coraline and the Pixar films of the last ten years. (If you're going for nostalgia, at least make it LOOK old-school.) There are some serious flaws in the logic of the film's second half: scary zombies are portrayed as innocent good guys seeking peace of mind, even though their mortal counterparts murdered a child. The young child is then portrayed as the big bad unspeakable Evil who must be tamed by the one-boy-who-nobody-understands. Though the last ten minutes of the film are nicely put together, (reminiscent of the more somber and intriguing Coraline,) this cannot save "Paranorman" from its insincere attempt to rip-off the 80's and slasher films, all while sugarcoating it as a kiddie flick.
If you want to see a recent animated flick that has an 80's Goonies-on-a-quest flavor, and is actually clever, witty, and campy, (something "Paranorman" tried to accomplish but never really succeeded in,) please watch "Monster House."