Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Paranorman (2012)

I don't get a chance to get out to the theater much. It's a real strain on me - only others with fibro or other debilitating illnesses will understand why. So if I go it's usually something I REALLY want to see, or something my hubby really wants to see. And he wanted to see Men In Black III. Having seen the first two, and liking Josh Brolin in just about everything he does, I took the small trip to see it. It was the first night it was playing in the town and the theater had every seat full. By chance there was just one empty chair by me, so a little girl sat there while her father sat behind her. We're talking about 6-8 years old. After a while I began to notice a lot of squirming next to me. 

Now kids can't sit still I know but she wasn't being obnoxious - I looked over at her and she was scared spitless. All those monsters and aliens were not funny or exciting to watch to her - they were fuel for future nasty nightmares, especially the main baddy Boris The Animal. We're talking whimpering, reaching back to grab her dad's hand - she was NOT having fun. Me having a soft touch for kids (probably 'cause I never had any) I started a banter with her, trying to lighten it up like 'Wow, that was weird!' 'Ooh cool stuff!'. She finally relaxed a bit and even gave me a smile or two. But she was NOT happy and she should NOT have been there. PG13 is there for a reason parents.

That long-winded story being told, take caution how old your children are if you have not already seen Paranorman. When I first saw the previews, it looked like a funny cartoon - one of those 'I see dead people' kind of things, except in cartoon form. Well folks, cartoons can be pretty damn scary too. This movie is rated PG, probably because of the cartoon aspect (Okay, okay, it's a 3D stop motion animated movie, alright?). That does NOT mean that your child will necessarily not get scared by it. 

In fact, critics (paid ones) say that "ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents." Notice they say OLDER children. Why this was not PG13 I do not know.

Yeah, there are cutsie parts of this film, Paranorman's relationship with his grandmother, which one only finds out later has been deceased for a while, a horrid rendition of Season Of The Witch, and silly animated chases. Oh and it was produced in an Oregon studio, got to give my State props for that. But past that it was not something I would take a small child to.

We have the story of a place in Massachusetts where witch stories are rampant, and especially stories of hangings and torture of witches. This is the basic story: In the time of witch fever, a group of Puritans single out Agatha because of her 'special abilities' as being of the devil - they hang her. Now the town is cursed but doesn't really know it because the night she is to rise once a year is thwarted by someone from Paranorman's family reading her a bedtime story to 'convince' her to sleep another year. Nice. Oh, did I mention that this 'witch' they tortured and hung was only a little girl? Doubly nice.

Paranorman already feels very, very out of place. In a town of people who make their living selling bits of history, witch-related in particular, you'd think they'd be more tolerant of a kid like Paranorman but nope. Until the night of the witch arrives and the family member responsible for reading the witch back to sleep dies. 

Now it's up to Norman not only to find the book (currently in the stiff dead hands of his uncle - more fun) but to find the unmarked grave of the witch. Meanwhile, because the witch has not been put 'back to sleep' the ones who condemned her rise from the grave and come after Paranorman too.

There are chases, misunderstandings, scares, and a final confrontation with the (very small) witch Agatha as she does not want to go back to sleep, she wants her mommy. Wants her mommy? Yeah, that's funny. <That's sarcasm by the way.>

But, in the end, Paranorman is able to reach the girl by basically telling her the world sucks, people suck, and what happened to her sucks, that's life. Great life lesson. Since he is ostracized too (and probably would have been hung himself had he lived in another century) they find a lot in common with each other. And disaster is averted as Paranorman finds that him being different is what saves his town. And being different is not so bad after all.

But I still wouldn't take a kid to see it.