Stop animation at its finest.
"You don't become a hero by being normal."

Hello everyone, welcome to another exciting week of The Tagline! over the weekend, between naps, I managed to stay awake long enough to watch ParaNorman. If you managed to miss it (and the numbers would suggest that many folks did) ParaNorman is an oddity, in that it is a stop motion film, using full color 3D printers for a large portion of the puppet creation. The fact that it is stop motion at all (and not using the normal 3D format cameras) is remarkable by itself, and watching the fluid quality of the animation, it's no wonder that the filming process of the movie took a total of two years. ParaNorman stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (who also starred in the American vampire movie adaptation Let Me In) as the voice of Norman Babcock, a boy who is very unusual. He's unusual because he can see dead people (obligatory Sixth Sense joke here). Among these is his grandmother. Suffice to say, Norman's family, especially his father, aren't super excited about the fact that Norman watches slasher flicks with his dead granny all day. Norman also for all intents and purposes doesn't have any friends. He gains one, the incredibly goobery ginger Neil. After being assaulted in a public place by his creepy distant relative, the smelly beardo Mr. Prederghast (voiced by John Goodman), Norman is drawn into a frightful situation involving a witch's curse, and some zombies. See in Norman's home town, there's this myth involving a witch who was put to death, and subsequently put a curse on the members of the town government that put her to death, that involved them rising as zombies. Scary stuff!

This is about how I think an 8 year old would react.
So what does Norman have to do? He has to stop the curse and the zombies, by reading a bedtime story to the angry spirit at her grave. Problem is, he doesn't know where her grave is! Oops. There are a few twists to the story, but as a person over the age of 10 you will probably see them coming a good, healthy distance before they happen. Speaking of the age of the viewers, I considered that, and I feel like the trailers really portrayed it as a G movie. It was a PG movie, and I thought that even then it was probably too scary for young children, adult supervision or no. The witch, and Norman's confrontation with her, is I imagine something that would scare a little kid pretty bad, and there is a fair amount of mob violence on tap here as well. This movie gets added to my list of trailers that look like a fairly different movie (though certainly there are worse instances of that). 

This is not the part that I thought was scary, I swear.
So was it any good? Yeah actually, it was a really neat movie. First off, the stop motion looks fantastic. The models are awesome, the sets look great, and as mentioned earlier the animation is very smooth. Particularly cool are the animated ghosts, who all take on a translucent appearance. The movie restricts itself to a relatively small cast of characters and to a very focused plot, which creates a tight package of a movie that won't lose the attention of younger viewers (or older viewers who can't pay attention for longer than 90 minutes, the movies modest run-time). The voice acting is top notch (despite Norman's sister being voiced by   Anna Kendrick, who will forever be the annoying girl from Twilight to me, I know you're wondering "which one" right? The answer is Jessica) and the soundtrack fits the movie perfectly (even the White Stripes tracks included, there are two I think). It's worth mentioning that I found it very funny that Jodelle Ferland is the voice of the scary little girl taking her long waited-for vengeance on the town that put her to death, given that she portrayed Alessa/Sharon in the first Silent Hill movie. Jodelle is now 18, so she can only reprise that role in voice. Good for her I guess.

This can only end in tears am I right?
The movie barely recouped its budget of 60 million, only jumping the hurdle after factoring in international sales (it only grossed 56, million domestically, but totalled around 105 million). It opened in an August box office stuffed with movies that probably helped to distract audiences from seeing it. That combined with tepid sales at the box office in general (not uncommon for that time of year) meant it didn't bring in a ton of money. While it sat at 3rd its opening weekend (elbowed out by The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy) and hung tough in the top 5 for most of its run, in the end the numbers just weren't there. It's too bad, because this movie was well and above the average "bring your kids to the movie" fare. I'd definitely recommend it for the watch if you get the chance!

That's it for today! Join me Thursday when I will hopefully be reviewing the current horror movie Mama, assuming I can get near the box office!

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