PARANORMAN directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, written by Butler, with the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Anna Kendrick. An Alliance Films release. 93 minutes. Opens Friday (August 17). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNNN
The new stop-motion epic from the Laika animation house, ParaNorman is a worthy successor to Coraline in texture, animation and sheer emotional complexity.
The best animated film I've seen this year, it's a funny and resonant adventure that's not afraid to get really, really dark.
Norman is an 11-year-old (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road and Let Me In) whose ability to converse with the dead makes him an outcast in his New England town. But his talent becomes an asset when a local legend turns out to be at least partly true and a curse brings a quintet of Puritan zombies out of their graves.
As Norman and his unlikely allies - including his spiteful older sister (Anna Kendrick) and a couple of awkward classmates (Tucker Albrizzi, Christopher Mintz-Plasse) - race to restore order, ParaNorman launches into a series of thrilling, inventive set pieces, engaging serious themes while never shying away from the truly horrible implications of its mythology.
A fantastic picture in every sense of the word.