Friday, August 17, 2012
In one of the opening scenes of ParaNorman, we see Norman hanging out with his grandma in his family's living room. They're having a conversation: he talks to her and she responds. Pretty normal, right? When Norman goes into the kitchen, however, his parents scold him for talking to his grandma, and say that he needs to get over her death - which means, if you didn't know already from the trailers, that Norman can talk to dead people.
Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) has an unusual gift. When he walks to school in the morning, he says hello to many people, but a "normal" person would just see him talking to himself, because Norman can see things that others can't: specifically, the "auras" of the deceased. When his crazy uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman, TV's Community), suddenly passes away, his ghost tells Norman to go find a book that his corpse has and make sure that the infamous town witch doesn't come back to haunt the town for its 300th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, Norman isn't fast enough, and he and his enemy Alvin (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Fright Night) soon find themselves running from seven zombies intent on killing them ... so they think.
The voice cast in this film has a lot of A-listers, and some of them I started to recognize throughout the film because they have distinctive voices, such as Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Elaine Stritch (aka Jack Donaghy's mom on the TV show 30 Rock) as Norman's grandma. Anna Kendrick (What To Expect When You're Expecting) voices Norman's sister Courtney, as well, and Leslie Mann (Funny People) voices his mom.
Yes, see this film, and see it in 3D if possible. The 3D was the type that is so good you forget it's there after a while, until something finally pops out from the screen (in this case: flies) and scares you. I thought that the movie was actually a little scary for younger children, but I saw the film with a blogger friend and her two girls and they were fine with it, so I guess it would depend on the child. There were fun little things scattered throughout for the adults, as well - there was a sign on the school board that said "Spelling bee - next Wensday" (should be "Wednesday") and in a scene where one character breaks into Town Hall, he uses a message board that said something like "Meeting against violence next week," which was funny. ParaNorman is one of the better kids' movies I have seen lately, and it gets one of my highest recommendations for films that have opened in the past few weeks.
ParaNorman is in theaters today, August 17th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 93 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.