A young boy gifted with the ability to see ghosts has to rise to the challenge when his small New England town is cursed by the spirit of a vengeful witch in PARANORMAN, the latest 3D stop-motion animated effort from Oregon’s Laika Studios. With an onslaught of mouldering zombies, voluble spirits, and malevolent storm fronts, plus a production that pushes the artistic boundaries of stop-motion in terms of scope and character performance, the film has no shortage of ambition. But is that enough? Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski and Lawrence French differ wildly with Dan Persons on this point, and the group discuss their divergent impressions in this episode. Plus: Dan’s capsules of the energetic Hong Kong fantasy/actioner PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION, and the indie science fiction romantic comedy CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME.
Oregon’s Laika stop-motion studio is kind-of making a name for itself as the go-to guys for family-friendly fantasies that mix the scary and the funny in perfect proportion. In their latest, PARANORMAN, a young boy with gift for seeing the various and sundry spirits that are haunting his small, New England town is saddled with the responsibility of saving his neighbors from a centuries-old witch’s curse. For the kid, that’ll mean confrontations with kibitzing ghosts, lumbering zombies, and a vast, ominous, and all-destroying cloud of malevolence. For the audience, it means a supremely stunning and innovative foray into 3D animation, and a fitting follow-up to the studio’s CORALINE.
At this point, it stands as my favorite animated film of the year, and I was excited to get a chance to talk with its directors, Sam Fell and Chris Butler. Click on the player button to hear the conversation.