LAIKA; Focus Features
ParaNorman (2012) is the latest stop-motion animated feature from LAIKA, the studio that brought us Coraline. Spoiler alert: it’s awesome.
Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a loner that can see and talk to dead people and pets. He watches old monster movies with his dead grandmother (Elaine Stritch) and knows every deceased person in town. His dad (Jeff Garlin) and teen sister, Courtney (Anna Kendrick), think he’s weird but this sort of strangeness runs in his mom’s family, most notably in Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman).
The town of Blithe Hollow has a dark history of executing a witch and has turned this into a tourist hotspot. Kitschy witch themed shops line the street and the kids prepare for the annual altered witch history pageant. Everything is relatively normal until Uncle Prenderghast alerts Norman that there’s a curse, it’s bad and it’s up to Norman to stop it.
ParaNorman is gorgeously done, smart, funny and completely unique. Norman’s friend, Neil, voiced by Tucker Albrizzi, is a scene stealer.
You have to have infinite patience and a touch of insanity to want to make a stop-motion movie but thankfully, LAIKA is made up of these talented people. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, I really Loved It. Seriously, go watch it right now.