Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I was expecting to like this thing, the story of a young, misunderstood boy who suddenly becomes his town's only hope in fending off a plague of undead unleashed by a centuries-old curse. I'd heard from reliable sources that the movie played in earnest, that it credited younger viewers with the strength and the smarts to deal with some decidedly-PG material, and that it knowingly appropriated the styles of a wide breadth of horror films. It plays its pastiches and mashups as knowingly as Tarantino, all while confronting its well-realized and believable characters (and us) with a powerful and moving tale of mortality and love, of anger and forgiveness. The artistry of its stop-motion animation (not to mention the exquisite dark whimsy of its production design) will delight the child in all of us, but its story speaks to something just as timeless. It is all too common for a Hollywood film to treat its adult viewers like children; PARANORMAN is special in how it treats its younger viewers like adults.