It’s not like we even take things such as children seeing the dead (thanks to “the Sixth Sense”) or films that make fun of zombies (um, “Warm Bodies”) as shocking anymore, but we have grown so bored with the material that we now make them into animated children films! Greetings once more, fellow movie-aficionados! This will be my last review before Sunday’s Oscars, but I figured that I should try to fit this one in just in time.
I watched this not 2 weeks ago, and sadly it is utterly forgettable. This film is done by the creators of “Coraline” which was incredibly creepy, original, and presented a really fresh artistic style. “ParaNorman” fails at almost every level. Artistically, it is dull and completely messy. Coloring was flat and (no pun intended) lifeless. The characters are stereotypes in all ways, which means they are also boring flat and lifeless. There’s nothing too original about the tale, given our recently-obsessed-with-zombies culture. Like I said, the film is utterly forgettable.
It is the story of an 11-year old boy who sees the dead, and because of this ability he is mocked and ridiculed and misunderstood. Of course, this has not stopped the boy from living in a bedroom filled with zombie posters, clocks, slippers, and bed sheets. Strange, right? This ability is shared by another citizen of his fictitious New England town: the local town hobo. Apparently, in this town someone is born into each generation with this ability. The reason: why, to keep the evil witch and her curse at bay! As it turns out, the story tries to deliver a message about being an outsider or a misfit (watch “the Goonies” instead) and rails against bullying (a hot topic of this day & age). “ParaNorman” though doesn’t convince me of either of these messages and seems to flounder in its delivery of both. In the end, the audience is left to shrug their shoulders and turn the channel.
I’m all for being creative in children’s movies, but zombies are not appropriate subject matter. I think it demonstrates how numb we are as a culture these days. If your children think this film funny or goofy, it isn’t because this film is making light of the subject matter, I assure you. Look, just because a zombie isn’t real-looking (whatever that is), it doesn’t mean it is okay to use in a film targeted towards 8 to 12 year old children. Here lately, I have seen far too much of this in entertainment and it is numbing us as an audience.
So besides being a pretty dull film, “ParaNorman” should be skipped right over. (My hope would be of sending the studio a wake-up call, but it’s far too late for that.) Let this one be a dud left unseen and collecting dust in the $5.00 bin of your local super-store.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE