ParaNorman film review: Weird, wonderful and truly original


CHRIS TOOKEY: ParaNorman: Weird, wonderful and truly original

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UPDATED:

09:05 GMT, 14 September 2012

ParaNorman (PG)

Verdict: Horrific, but fun

After the Paralympics comes ParaNorman. He’s not a disabled athlete — just a small boy who sees dead people . . . and talks to them, extremely politely.

The film in which Norman appears is a black-comedy horror from British directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell — and it’s one of the most original films of the year.

After the Paralympics comes ParaNorman. Hes not a disabled athlete  just a small boy who sees dead people

After the Paralympics comes ParaNorman. Hes not a disabled athlete – just a small boy who sees dead people

This is a weird and sometimes wonderful exercise in stop-motion animation.

Norman (pictured, and voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an outsider at school, where he is bullied. But when a plague of 17th-century zombies threatens the community, Norman’s crazy old coot of an uncle (John Goodman) tells the boy he’s the only one who can save the day.

So Norman does just that, aided by his fat best friend (Tucker Albrizzi), Norman’s cheerleader sister (wittily voiced by Anna Kendrick), who is deeply interested in hunky teenage boys, and one such brainless muscle-man (Casey Affleck).

The school bully (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) comes along, too, to undergo a kind of personal redemption, when he’s not picking his nose.

The film’s most original in the way it depicts the zombies, stern Puritans who are the hapless victims of a witch’s curse, and the witch herself, who turns out to have a lot in common with Norman. The film is a fine parable about bullying, and the proper response to it.

One other thing. Parts of it are genuinely horrific. Despite the PG certificate, this is not for nervous children. I’m surprised it’s not a 12A.