ParaNorman [2012] ★★½

“ParaNorman” is far from being a bad movie, but one thing was running through my mind the whole time: how could kids enjoy such a dark, twisted story? And ultimately that’s my problem with it. Norman is a weird little boy who sees dead people (think “The Sixth Sense”). Even his parents think he’s weird. His only friend is a chubby kid named Neil. Then one day he discovers that an angry spirit is about to invoke a 300-year-old curse and  destroy the whole town. Of course no one will believe him so it’s up to him to save the world. I’ll give “ParaNorman” points for originality, but that story twist is so bizarre that it knocked me for a loop. Then the movie tries to make up for this weird twist with an emotional finale, but the ending doesn’t have the impact it should. Needless to say, the movie looks great, from the production design to the cast, which includes Kodi Smit-McPhee (“Let Me In”) as Norman, Anna Kendrick as his sister, Casey Affleck as a surfer dude, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (a.k.a McLovin from “Superbad”) as a funny bully and Elaine Stritch as Norman’s dead grandmother. I root for animated movies all the time and want to love them. My disappointment with “ParaNorman” doesn’t mean that it’s a bad movie. It’s still worth checking out, even if it isn’t flawless.

Rating: 2.5/4

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