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Films Reviews 2012: Paranorman

Get set for a spooky animation featuring a young lad who's far from normal

Posted: 23 October 2012
by Catherine O'Dolan

THERE’S NOTHING NORMAL about Norman. No, Norman is quite the exceptional little fella, with a rather unusual talent that sets him apart from the crowd. The trouble is, his attribute – an ability to communicate with the dead, including his amiable grandmother, who sits knitting next to him as they watch TV together – also means poor Norman is ridiculed at school and labelled a freak and weirdo – even his father and big sister badger the poor kid about his behaviour and have trouble understanding the forlorn youth. But Norman is an appealing little soul, with his sticky-out ears and Frankenstein-meets-Bart-Simpson hairdo: there’s plenty of pathos as Norman slouches about the place, shoulders down, politely greeting the ghoulish inhabitants of his home town, Blithe Hollow, on his way to another day of bullying at school. You’ve also got be rooting for him when he reluctantly finds himself charged with the task of breaking the ancient witch’s spell to prevent zombies taking over the town (though you suspect the town dwellers sort of deserve their fate!): can the antihero triumph? From the makers of Coraline, this stop-motion animation has a similarly spooky, off-beat appeal to the movie about the girl with the button eyes (and some hair-raisingly hide-behind-the-sofa scary moments for sensitive young viewers). It also has a liberal splattering of comic moments, a feel-good ending as Norman's family unite to protect him from a marauding crowd, and a powerful message that it’s OK to be different. An ultimately heartwarming tale that could be set to become a classic staple of Hallowe'en viewing. Paranorman (cert PG) is at cinemas from September 14 2012.

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