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Review: ParaNorman

Throwback to Amblin's summer fare of the '80s
By BRETT MICHEL  |  August 17, 2012

This second feature from animation house LAIKA (the company behind Coraline) is the type of holiday entertainment that kids (and adults) used to tune into annually, back when Rankin/Bass was creating wonders of stop-motion. But those beloved TV specials centered on Christmas, while LAIKA makes movies best suited to haunting Halloween. So why is their latest, co-directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, opening in August? Well, this tale of a Salem-like town cursed by a witch is also a throwback to Amblin's live-action summer fare of the '80s, with a nod to John Carpenter. While Butler's script doesn't equal Coraline's, this movie's artists have summoned black magic with the spiky-haired character of misunderstood pariah Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), bullied because he sees dead people. But when the burg is besieged by zombies, the boy becomes a hero — and any misgivings about the plot are eased by the handcrafted visuals. Catch it in 3D if you can.

Related: The Paranormal Bikers are a new breed of ghost hunters, Carl and Keith Johnson are spreading the ghostly gospel, Pints And Blood On A Saturday Night, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Animation, HALLOWEEN, CORALINE,  More more >
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 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL