Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Paranorman Review

I had seen ads for this when it came out but it wasn't even really on my radar due to it being a kids' horror movie.  Then Karl said that there were a lot of jokes that I would find funny.  I trust Karl's judgement in movies and I thought I'd give it a shot.

As it turns out, Paranorman is a fun little movie with some pretty good laughs.  Most of the good stuff comes from Neil, the portly, happy go lucky sidekick.  He's a loveable kid who's cluelessness relieves any tension that builds up.  As for the rest of the characters, yes, there are some of the quirky aspects that allow them to be funny.  But the writers seemed to hold back on the goofiness a little.  Had they turned it up just a little, this could have gone from a "few chuckles" movie to downright hilarious.  But, considering its targeted straight at a slightly younger audience, anything further for humour could have been wasted.

Had this movie been made by Pixar, it would have had the multi-audience levels of story and humour that would have achieved some more laughs.  But Laika is known for a more linear and less light approach to their films.  I never saw Coraline (also made by Laika) but I can tell that it has a more fantastical yet rooted in reality approach to animated film than Pixar's approach of talking cars, toys, and cuddly monsters.  Both take people into another world and make them laugh.  But Pixar would not have had zombies' arms ripped off by villagers and Norman would have a lasting friendship with the witch as they faded off listening to a Randy Newman tune.  Instead, Laika decided to teach life lessons with a much more realistic (and albeit dark) message that ultimately made this a more satisfying movie.

There are some lingering questions left for the more discriminating movie goer.  But this is purely, pre-teen entertainment and loose ends can usually remain loose in that arena.  The laughs and melancholic but satisfying resolution make it worth your 90 minutes.  See it.

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