It’s hard to explain how ParaNorman works as a whole. However, I can tell you upfront that it works really well even over its lackluster script. The script isn’t really bad to tell you the truth. It’s just that it could have been better with a material that’s been done before. Yes, Paranorman stands out almost original but it still follows an archetype that surprisingly works. I believe the film was saved by the fair complement of B-Horror, itsy-bitsy teenage (if not tween) humor and modern story-telling. They could also worked on the gags because some of the humor were not spot-on.
In terms of Animation, this stop-motion animated film succeeds on giving breathtaking scenes in full detail livened up by outrageously bright colors. While the film takes the Grimm path of horror the colors used feels loud and flashy with its streaks of neon and gray. With genuinely creepy (and terrifying) moments I think this is an effective horror flick for children. There’s also the distinctive texture highlighted on some parts – carefully look at the brain in the beginning, the “EAR” and above all the floppy tongue! In its sweet pace, it really gives out a lot of details that adds up to the art-house feel of this little masterpiece. The character design are odd which reminded me of Rango’s zany and ugly modeled characters and of course, Coraline, with respect to the creators. ParaNorman, for me, is actually more of an eye candy than anything else.
Aside from the utterly impressive animation, the movie is successful in conveying messages about anti-bullying, loneliness, ignorance, fear, revenge, life and death that it sometimes hit the bar of being preachy – plus there’s a tiny joke about homosexuality. Like a zombie, the movie starts quite slow until you get engaged and then it just paces up to eat you until you find yourself in a world inspired by visual diarrheas of Burton and Del Toro. ParaNorman adumbrated a recycled storyline and gave it life with imaginative animation. Great job LAIKA!