Dmitri's Review of ParaNorman
Top Movies of 2012 - #8
Paranorman, a movie about a young boy that can see dead people that's not the Sixth Sense, was one of the best animations for the year, and heck was one of the best movies of the year. It features some of the best storytelling I ever experienced from an animated movie, combining a dark and moody atmosphere, a compelling plot of regret and revenge, that also mature enough for adults (also due to the use of many controversial moments), great likeable characters, and amazing effects (in the figurine format nonetheless!!). Not only that, it features an amazing soundtrack that can bring one to tears, especially in the finale. The finale itself is breathtaking, with so many superb animation techniques and the soundtrack just expressing the pure emotion in the scene. Paranorman is a movie any animation fan should watch.
Original Review: One of the best surprises I had for the year came from ParaNorman, an under-the radar animation that I happened to catch in a double feature with Dredd in my local theater (yes I know it sounds weird). ParaNorman surprised me with how good it was, gaining the title of Best Animation for the year until it was contested by Wreck-It Ralph.
What makes ParaNorman so great? Its a variety of things, but mostly its plot. I'm hoping to provide little spoilers here, but the greatness of the plot comes from the plot twist and finale. Well ParaNorman has zombies, but they aren't the mindless husks as they are portrayed in most movies, but human characters with emotions. The main antagonist is a witch who seems to simply want to cause havoc, as the movie progresses, something much darker about the witch is revealed. Its tragic, heartbreaking, infuriating and cruel at the same time, and is sure to leave you mindblown or at least intrigued.
You see, ParaNorman is not standard kiddie fare like Ice Age, its an extremely mature movie, built not only for the children, but for their parents. Many rude jokes are thrown in, a curse word is used, and hell one of the characters is gay. The plot is so dark, yet so well-developed, nothing you ever seen in a "kids" movie before, and probably nothing you seen in most teen movies either.
The animation is also top-notch, especially being claymation, you can see every detail painstakingly etched into every character and set piece. Yet its so fluidly animated that you would never think it was a claymation movie. The 3D is also fantastic, mostly due to Laika's filming experiment .
The characters are all great, you like all of them, especially the antagonists, who I should accuse of stealing the show. There are no clear-cut antagonists here, they're all just victims of the crueler time they used to live in. I should also mention what really stole the show for me: the finale. In their final confrontation, Norman faces the Witch, trying to calm her down. The shrieks of our unfortunate antagonist, the excellent animation and visual effects, beautiful music and calm yet determined voice of Norman, all accumulate to create one of the most beautiful moments I ever seen in an animated film, so many emotions, the similarities the characters shared as they both been wronged by a cruel world, all present themselves in one of most unforgettable experiences for the year. The short moment of calm after wards was so simply beautiful that after the finale I think everyone near me was in tears.
ParaNorman has to be one of the best movies I saw for the year, with great characters, some of the best animation and a plot so dark and mature, yet enjoyable enough for kids and adults alike.