Review of Paranorman

Review of Paranorman

Paranorman is an animated film about a boy who can see ghosts for about half of it and who is a «chosen one» for the other half. The first half an hour or so, Norman deals with being the weird kid who can see dead people. He gets bullied and people look askance at him, but otherwise, not too much happens. There are some good jokes in the first half and hour, but mostly it seems like the film is treading water.

The fact that he can see ghosts has almost no bearing on the last hour of the movie.  That night is the anniversary of the killing of a witch in the town. That self-same witch is going to come back to wreak her revenge, unless Norman can stop her.

At about the half an hour mark, a bunch of characters who had barely any screen time are pulled into running from zombies and trying to survive the witch’s curse. The film really starts moving at this point, when the characters have something to run from and somewhere to go.

This movie has an excellent sense of humour, but it also uses just about every lazy convention in the book. At one point, they don’t know where to go, so they ring up a “super genius” and get the answer – The same “super genius” that had been glimpsed for about half a second at the start of the film. Not quite a deus ex machine, but edging the line.

The characters aren’t particularly deep. All but Norman and Neil are pretty much cut-out stereotypes. In the last half an hour, the film drags a bit. I found myself way ahead of the plot.

That all being said, this movie is well worth a watch. It’s a kid’s movie, but it kept an almost two-year-old, two teenagers and two adults watching for the whole run time. That’s no mean feat. One of the jokes in the movie had us laughing for a good thirty seconds as well. I’d recommend watching it, particularly if you have kids. Paranorman is now streaming on Netflix US, so it costs nothing to give it a try.


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