ParaNorman Review: A Great Genre Mash-Up For the Whole Family

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Its darker material may put off some, but if you can get passed it, ParaNorman is visually stunning and emotionally rewarding.

Borrowing a story from The Sixth Sense, this new animated film follows Norman, a young boy who can see and talk to the dead. Introduced to us in a shocking manner through the film’s opening scene, Norman’s gift alienates him from his family and classmates. It’s your typical relatable outcast, but the script injects new life into it with plenty of humor.

ParaNorman‘s sense of humor is truly unique in an animated film. Jokes involved corpses and other spookiness. Parents, there will be moments when your young ones will be scared, but they will be laughing soon after.

The middle of the film does drag a bit as the focus shifts to zombies over the characters. A better film would manage to intertwine them but instead we get Norman forced into dealing with the living dead for no personal reason aside from his ability.

Luckily the film’s ending makes up for most of the steam that the second act loses. The visuals of the entire film are fantastic to begin with, but the climax is truly awe-inspiring. This style of animation always lends a home-made feel to the film, so combining that with the crazy visuals of the climax make for something utterly unique.

ParaNorman is not your typical summer fare and it may have performed better around Halloween. But even if it underperforms at the box office, this little gem should have a long life in the hearts and minds of children and parents who like their entertainment a little more edgy. Grade: B+

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