September 7, 2012

ParaNorman on the Brain

Did you see ParaNorman yet? If not, I highly suggest watching your local dollar theaters for its arrival... that's not to say it is only worth a dollar, but rather that it is being phased out of the main theaters as I type this already.

My zombie candy corn t-shirt, purple hair and witch-cat hair clip made me feel very "paranorman".

I cannot give enough praise to this film. Marketed to kids, it is anything but a kids movie. You might have noticed it actually got a PG rating. It sells itself as a zombie genre film, but once again I feel that this "kids" movie is really more of an adult fairy tale. There are some very mature themes in this movie: death, afterlife, bullying, gender stereotypes, public schooling, politics, witchcraft vs. puritan thinking, remorse, murder... I could go on.

This whole package is wrapped up in a contrast of beauty and sheer real ugliness. I dont mean that the characters are ugly to look at, but they are certainly NOT the kind of actors hollywood films hire. The characters are all exaggerations of body types found in the real world on real people.

What also amazes me is the amount of work that goes into these films. And the amount of work done for simply stylistic reasons. There is a scene early in the film that has no characters, it lasts all of a few seconds and it is haunting me. It is a scene of a chain link fence with a trash plastic bag stuck in the wire, flapping in the wind. Now for a regular film thats not hard to make happen... but in this film someone had to create a tiny chain link fence. Weave the tiny wire together in that familiar pattern. Create a tiny pastic bag, rip and age it, paint a tiny fading logo on it. Plant that tiny fence in a small field where every piece of dirt and grass is hand made. Just for two seconds of a feeling to be added to this film. MIND BLOWING.

I have only seen it twice now. Might go again if I can find a theater showing, otherwise I'll be pacing until it is released on DVD. Just so I can pause every scene and watch every detail and marvel at every prop.