Been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, mostly in part to a resurgence in social activity. After a busy weekend (working at a bar during the Superbowl was not particularly fun…), I decided to take a day off from the world yesterday, and spent more or less the entirety of my time watching movies. Besides a few movies I watched with a friend recently (as well as a hefty dose of South Park) all of my visual entertainment these past weeks has come in the form of a very staggered How I Met Your Mother marathon… so once I watched the final episode, I figured it was time to take a break from serialized stuff, and just enjoy a few stand-alone movies instead.
It turns out, unsurprisingly, that you can fit rather a lot of movies into one day… but sadly the majority have already faded into obscurity within my mind. I decided to stick with the “theme” of animation for my movie night, so ended up catching up on a lot of the “big movies” of the past few years… as well as some more obscure titles. It’s safe to say Gladiators of Rome, or Freedom Force aren’t likely to blow anyone’s mind any time soon. The one movie that basically made my night worthwhile, however, was a movie called ParaNorman.
After watching it, I did a little research, and discovered that it was produced by a company called Laika, who are probably best-known for Coraline – one of my favorite movies. While I was a tad skeptical throughout the movie’s run that the stop-motion was merely deceptive CGI, I was glad to discover that this wasn’t the case, and in retrospect it really does show (I think my skepticism was more likely sourced from my innate pessimism, rather than from any visual evidence). While I am rather bad for giving my #sealofapproval to things rather easily, I must say that ParaNorman was an incredibly enjoyable movie – suitable for children, but not boring for adults – and I would recommend it to any fan of stop-motion animation, or zombie fiction.
The movie shares a few minor elements with the Corpse Bride (another movie that Laika worked on), such as it’s non-threatening depiction of the undead, and it’s brilliant use of color and lighting. Set in the small town of “Blithe Hollow”, every character looks unique, without being too peculiar, and the many different sets we see during the movies duration are all visually interesting. While the movie is primarily stop-motion animation, it does make use of computer-generated imagery on numerous occasions, but never in a situation that the result could have feasibly been done in another way – and every special effect is pulled off with aplomb. To summarize, like most stop-motion films of its kind (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, etc), ParaNorman is visually interesting in a way that few movies are these days, and is worth watching purely due to the distance it has from the more generic CGI movies that dominate the realm of animation these days.
ParaNorman’s plot is fairly simple, but – as you would expect – things develop over time, and nothing is quite as straight-forward as it seems. Norman Babcock is a young boy who can see and speak to ghosts, and as a result of this ability he is a social outcast, whose family doesn’t understand him, and whose peers don’t respect him. Nonetheless, when a witches curse threatens the town, Norman becomes it’s only hope. Joined by his sister, his best friend, his best friend’s brother, and the school bully, he sets out on a quest to stop the curse, and put an end to the dead walking the streets. Things soon become more complicated, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you – as I’m sure you’ll want to watch it to find out! 😛
Since watching ParaNorman I’ve realized that Laika have one other movie out currently, 2014’s “The Boxtrolls”, so I will likely go out of my way to watch it in the near future, in the hope that I will enjoy it on par with Coraline and ParaNorman. I’ve got a rather quiet week ahead of me – or at least, it looks like I do at this point – so I will likely have the opportunity before long. Blogs will hopefully be a tad more regular during February (due to a lack of funds preventing me from going out too much) although there will likely be less of them in total (due to a lack of energy preventing me from doing too much), so… look forward to that I guess? Peace out! x