Monday, February 18, 2013

(August 2012)

"Oh, man, that [old graveyard] is baaad news. It’s like, total slasher movie vibe. Why’d [Norman] go up there?”

Laika, the studio owned by Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight and run by his son, Travis, brought us Henry Selick’s excellent adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline in 2009.
Coraline was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2010 Oscars* and now, Laika’s second stop-motion feature, Paranorman, is also an Oscar nominee in the same category.
Not a bad Oscar batting average, if I may say so myself.

Written by Chris Butler (who worked on storyboards for Coraline and Corpse Bride), and co-directed by Butler with Sam Fell (director of Flushed Away and The Tale of Despereaux), Paranorman is a crazy-awesome ride that horror fans should get a massive kick out of.

“It’s not supposed to be [historically accurate]! It’s supposed to sell postcards and key chains.”

Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is the town freak, which is bad enough.
But when you live in a town like Blithe Hollow (“A Great Place to Hang!”), where a tragic death that happened centuries ago has become the core of its economy and tourism, and you’re someone who can actually see and speak with the dead, then it’s so.

Blithe Hollow is a town with establishments like The Lucky Witch Casino, Trick or Trim, Hung and Dried, and Witchy Wieners, and whose denizens, sadly, look strangely at the weird kid.
And it’s a town that Norman reluctantly finds himself needing to save when the fit hits the shan.

“Son! Step away from the zombies!”

With a brilliantly stylized, off-kilter look to its world and characters and a great voice cast which includes John Goodman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Casey Affleck, Paranorman is a funny and touching tale that is a warm, heartfelt love letter to horror fans and misfits everywhere.   
Thanx, Laika. Seriously.
This is putting all that Nike cash to awesome use.

“Perfect. Now the geeks are in charge.”

* Coraline was up against Wes Anderson’s brilliant Fantastic Mr. Fox, among others, but the 2010 Best Animated Feature Film Oscar was ultimately brought home by Pixar’s Up.

(Paranorman OS’ courtesy of

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