Just before arriving back at Leeds Art College for my final year, I had gone to check out Paranorman at the cinemas as I had seen the trailers and expected great things from the makers of Coraline which was a great film with brilliant animation. Although I am a firm believer of the technique not making the animation but aiding the narrative and animation, the film was breathtaking.
Laika have really grown and taken over the stop motion world with their work on Coraline and Paranorman. I was taken away with the story, cinematography and animation within the entire film. Although there were points which I would have been interested to see such as the drastic change in amount of ghosts Norman see’s later in the film but it had a brilliant entrance into his ability to see them. Other than that though I, personally, couldn’t fault a point about Norman and his paranormal life. What was great about Paranorman was that although we know the story has been told many times before, someone sees ghosts, talks to ghosts, person solves the living dead’s problems blah blah blah… To me it hit many more subject points than the average story, having the story centered around a child who is bullied, who doesn’t ‘belong’ it’s a breathe of fresh air to have a protagonist that is a child. This allows the narrative to be relate-able to every age as well as portraying Norman’s innocence and showing people’s lack of understanding of a kid that simply has a special ‘ability’.
The story was exciting and fun but the way in which it was shown was unbelievable to myself and I am sure many others. The colours, composition and timing is something that I have been trying to get a great understanding of and to me Paranorman really does work every little detail into the film taking into account and working these points into the film to show Norman’s story as beautifully and immersible as possible. To have models live and breath in this environment is no easy feet and they seem to do it with ease. The way they have animated the character’s are something that I also have begun to really begin a deep interest in. Having an understanding in the basics of animation with hand drawn techniques, I hope, builds a general understanding of most areas of animation but with the obvious experience and testing that is needed within each area. Replacement animation has come of age with Aardman and a few other animation companies adopting their way of animating. It is a truly breathtaking and painful technique in order to animate but it’s incredibly effective, as they discuss in some of their shorts in the ‘Making of…’ on their Vimeo.
Laika have truly taken the stop motion film area to the next level in my mind and has taken the best animated film (with Brave) in my mind for this year. If you haven’t already, watch it… now. What’s so good about being normal?
Here’s a link to their website.