In the wake of the first few Pixar hits, many studios and production houses took shots at making animated movies. Dreamworks succeeded with the “Shrek” films, but others had problems.
In the last 15 or so years, we have seen tons of animated films that get a lot of things right, but fall short on that one key element: a good story.
“ParaNorman,” sadly, falls into that category. Like many of its animated brethren, it has a distinctive look, amusing characters and funny lines. But the plot is just not that good.
Norman is a kid who has that sixth sense: he can see and communicate with dead people. One of the deceased citizens of his small town shares information that leads him to try to break a centuries-old witch’s curse. Getting to that result is a roundabout cinematic journey.
“ParaNorman” looks great. It was shot in stop-motion 3-D by the same studio that made 2009’s “Coraline.” But here is the big difference: “Coraline” was based on a successful Neil Gaiman novel; “ParaNorman,” is an original screenplay, written by co-director Chris Butler.
For fans of stop-motion animation (myself included), “ParaNorman” is a must-see. For everybody else, it’s a maybe. There are some parts of the movie that may frighten younger children, but you know your kids better that I do. Parental guidance is suggested.