Friday 17 August 2012

ParaNorman's Out in the US - What Are the Critics Saying?

ParaNorman, the latest scary, stop-motion film from Laika, the house that brought you Coraline, is out today in US cinemas, and has been received thus far by the same enthusiastic acclaim that greeted their first film.

ParaNorman follows Norman Babcock, a young, outcast boy from the small town of Blithe Hollow, who has the inexplicable - yet somehow cinematically ubiquitous - ability to speak with the dead. Due to this, Norman is the only one able to try and stop the witch's curse that has plagued Blithe Hollow. Starring the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman, and directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away) and Chris Butler (storyboard supervisor on Coraline) was released today, with a new, intense, trailer (below), highlighting the scary parts of the film - rather than the comedy the earlier trailers focused on - released on the 14th.

The critics are enthusiastic so far; Laika's second film currently holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (compared to Coraline's 90%), with a consensus reading:

"Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents."

Top critics from all over the web seem enamoured with the film: Variety's Justin Chang writes "Few movies so taken with death have felt so rudely alive as "ParaNorman,"", and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers enthuses "Hey, it's not just Pixar that kicks ass in animation. Case in point: ParaNorman, a small miracle in stop-motion 3D from the wizards at Laika", rating it 3 out of 4 stars.

It certainly sounds promising!

Alas, ParaNorman isn't out here in the UK until 14th September (although we will have a review of The Art and Making of ParaNorman up soon!), but if you have seen it - or see it soon - please let us know what you think, either in the comments section, or on Twitter (@A113Animation).

In related news: The latest feature film from Henry Selick, who directed Coraline for Laika, has been dumped by Disney. Read the full story here.


  1. Saw it this morning.

    Beautiful film. Beautiful animation. I think stop-motion never looked this good before. Maybe Corpse Bride came the closest, but the way the characters and sets are handled here is incredible (You can see the light through Norman's ears ! I don't know how they did that).

    The story : much more my cup of tea than Coraline was - I loved Coraline, but it lacked a little in plot for me. It was a wonderful film ; it had a very atmospheric, creepy feeling. And an amazing score (ParaNorman doesn't have such a good score). But there was no big surprise in the story.
    Here, there are more little twists and turns, and I was delighted by the way the story evolved. They were not "OH MY GOD WHAT ARE THEY DOING ???" twists, but it gave the film a nice dynamic feeling.

    A few problems I had with ParaNorman : sometimes, the characters repeat themselves. And I was talking to myself in my head "Yes, you already said that, we get it !". But it's okay.
    Also, I'm not saying that ParaNorman is Coraline, but I hope Laika isn't only going to do movies that are so close thematically. They're handled very differently, but you don't have to look too hard to find similarities between the two. Maybe next time, try another genre.

    All in all, ParaNorman is a great and fun movie, with a pretty adult sense of humor ; but it can be moving too. Looks like 2012 will be a nice year for stop-motion. The Pirates, this, and Frankenweenie later this year. I really hope this technique doesn't disappear, as it gives a different feeling than CG or traditional animation.
    It was opening day in France, and we were only 4 in the theater room. Sad to see this kind of things.
    Just checked : ParaNorman had only the 4th biggest opening of the day, with The Expendables 2 on the first spot. And two miserables French films at #2 and #3.
    This is terrible. I don't get the audience...

    But the good news is - and to end on a happy note - we have a terrific film with ParaNorman !

    1. Thanks for sharing, Damien! Glad you enjoyed it. I'm a little peeved we in the UK have to wait so long for it though, haha.

      I'll admit, I wasn't that excited for it, but have really got amped up for it in recent months. Can't wait to judge for myself in September!

    2. Yes, I wasn't looking for it that much either, but I was pleasantly surprised. One animated film coming this year I'm not looking forward to, to the point that I'm not gonna bother to see it on the other hand, is Hotel Transylvania. Really not excited for this.

    3. Yeah, I'm not impressed by the Hotel T advertising... but then, I thought Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs looked bad, and I loved that! Maybe, Sony just don't know how to advertise an animated film...

      I'll let you know how it turns out if I see it!