Starring (voices): Kodi
Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher
Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin
Review: Bullying is a hot topic
right now. It’s really funny how our
society works sometimes. Bullying, in
its many shapes and forms, has existed for generations. Yet, all of the sudden, in 2012 we are
throwing up our hands and saying “this isn’t right.” It almost feels like American in this still
young decade has just realized what was going on. “Wait a second, this has been happening? Kids are getting tortured by other
Where was this movement when I
was high school? We didn’t have YouTube
so nobody could film anything and then post it, but it was definitely pretty
rampant. When I got on the newspaper when
I was a senior I remember I wanted to write an article about bullying at our
school. When talking to my journalism
teacher/editor about it, he said it would be very difficult. When I asked what he thought teachers would
say when I approached them his response was “I think they’ll tell you don’t
think it exists and it’s not a problem.”
And that’s just it. Bullying has been everyone’s dirty little
secret forever. It’s that thing that
goes on right under the surface that nobody deals with because you know that eventually
everybody grows up and this stuff magically goes away.^
^Or at least takes on a more
passive-aggressive, non-confrontational form.
For that matter, as we grow older it becomes easier to stand up to such
methods. The idea of the George McFly
versus Biff dynamic doesn’t really exist anymore, and if it does it’s changed
dramatically. Mainly in a much less
quantity of noogies.
Bullying is equally bad on both
sides of the gender line, but as a male I can only speak to that side and my
own experiences. There are two responses
to bullying. One is to just ignore it and
hope it goes away, the other is to tell the person being bullied to “stand up
for yourself.” Never are consequences of
any of this mentioned or discussed.
Nobody really knows how to stop bullying and it’s an unfortunate reality
of the human existence. Even as that’s
the case, it doesn’t mean its right in any facet.
Norman in ‘Paranorman’ is a
victim of bullying. Every day he goes
into school is preceded with a big deep breath to allow him to undertake the
abuse he’s about to receive. Norman sees
the world differently. He has something
that could be seen as a skill in the right light. Matter of fact, there are those who slowly
realize the potential of the skill that Norman possesses.
What takes longer is for Norman
to realize that he has a skill. Norman
can see dead people and interact with them.
Unfortunately, beaten down so hard is Norman that he has begun to think
like everyone else. Eventually if you
are told you are something long enough, you begin to agree with people. He doesn’t see this as a talent but a
burden. It hinders his relationship with
his parents, even their relationship with each other, and affects his ability
to have friends. But its part of who he
is and he won’t deny it.
As Norman slowly starts to come
along he is told that he has a singular importance in the story of his
town. Seeing dead people is not only a
talent, but it’s completely necessary to save everyone from a curse that has
befell his town for exactly 300 years.
Norman’s ability to talk to dead
people mean that he is the only one with the ability to keep the witch at bay
from terrorizing their town. If Norman
does it right then he will have a purpose that will keep the town safe for
years to come, even if nobody knows it.
Where ParaNorman excels is in
its message. Bullying is wrong,
everybody is unique, and all talents are valued. While the movie sometimes decides to beat you
over with the head with that knowledge, we have to keep in mind that this is a
kids film and such things are necessary to be understood.
Speaking of it being a kids
film, some of it was pretty scary for the younger set. I’d say if your kid was six or so you’re
probably ok, but my 3-year-old niece was screaming and hiding her eyes during
it. That said, she also couldn’t stop
talking about how much she liked it, even though it was so scary.
Of all the non-live action
mediums I think that stop motion go is my absolute favorite. It provides a richness and adds elements you
just can’t get with others. It is for
this reason that I even went to see Paranorman in the first place. If you are a fan of the genre you definitely
won’t be disappointed.
Overall, I would say this is worth your time,
especially if you have young kids or are a young kid at heart.