ParaNorman stars the voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee as Norman

ParaNorman stars the voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee as Norman

Reel Reviews: A change from the norm

ParaNorman, about a young boy who can communicate with ghosts, is a horror movie for children.

  • Aug. 26, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Young Norman is a little bit different than everybody else. He gets picked on at school, has no friends and even his family thinks he’s weird, all because he can communicate with ghosts.

When an ancient witches’ curse threatens the townspeople by raising the dead, all Norman’s perceived faults turn into benefits and he becomes their only hope.

We say, “It’s a horror movie for children.”

HOWE: Yeah, this didn’t really work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty amazing to look at, but for me that’s about as far as it goes.

TAYLOR: I guess I could see that. It had a sort of “kid pace” for a horror movie. So in an adult horror movie, we are watching something hiding in the shadows, waiting for the scare. In this kids horror movie there are no adult scares, so we get a bit bored. But I don’t think the kids there were bored.

HOWE: I agree with you. I think kids will love it. It’s just scary enough but not overly scary, and with them adding in the jokes it will make it fun. Having said that, I wouldn’t take my son (who just turned five) to see it. He loves zombies but this may be too much for him.

TAYLOR: Yeah, I might draw the line at eight and up, unless you have a young kid who can handle scary bits. ParaNorman does a great job of mixing the scares with humour, which takes the edge off, however, the climax of the film is very loud and very intense. I saw a lot of kids holding on to their parents’ arms. Yet, when it stopped and was quiet again, they all laughed at themselves, relieved.

HOWE: I watched this in 3D and to be honest, it wasn’t really worth it. There wasn’t anything that I noticed flying out at you. If you do go and take the little ones, go watch it in regular vision, save the $3 that you would pay extra and buy a tiny bag of sour candies instead. They’re a lot more exciting and fun than ParaNorman.

TAYLOR: I disagree. Although the 3D was negligible, the movie was interesting and fun to watch. Especially for a stop motion film, Norman himself is a mechanical doll, about six-inches tall. The sets and cinematography were bordering on amazing. Although the target audience isn’t concerned about such things, ParaNorman is a unique film made by talented folks. It’s worth taking any kids who enjoy zombies, witches, ghosts or other spooky things. It also contains a couple important life lessons: Don’t pick on kids just because they’re different and don’t get wrapped up in a mob mentality.

–– Howe gives ParaNorman 2 zombie Puritans out of 5.

–– Taylor gives it 3.5 angry mobs out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Movie reviewers Brian Taylor and Peter Howe give their take on the latest films in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.