Tag Archive: paranorman

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


Recently at a job interview, I learned an interesting tidbit of information.


At stores that sell DVDs and BluRAY, it is horror movies that are flying off the shelves. And then the interviewer told me that horror movies sell in greater volume in rural areas than in urban areas.


Image from Fishmuffinsofdoom.blogspot.com

Image from Fishmuffinsofdoom.blogspot.com

I thought about that when I was picking out a movie the other week for our movie night at home. The racks were filled with horror movies. Even a lot of the family movies had a horror element to them. ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie. Each one of these movies involve ghosts, zombies, vampires or some other element that we might expect from some old campy horror movie from the 30s or 40s.


It makes me wonder what are we so afraid that we have to explore it in our entertainment. I understand why zombie movies might be so popular. With the sluggish economy, people with jobs are being asked to do the work of three people and are so tired they might wish they were dead. Or people are afraid that they will become shells of the people they once were.


While that might be a mid-life crisis issue, I can see how people would think that. They wonder what happened to their passion for life, their joy in the everyday when it has been beaten down by the routine of daily life of going to work and coming home to deal with the family only to do it again the next day.


How can one find a passion for life when they are eating the same fried eggs (over easy) with the same raisin toast and the same green tea that they have had for breakfast for the last 20 years. Where is the joy when you are yelling at the kids or the husband for the clothes that hit the bathroom floor but not the hamper less than a foot away for umpteen years?


We need to see how to fight against it, how to rage against the dying of the light. No matter what our age, people want to see how a person fights against demons and other evil entities in order to survive. We want that secret.


Or maybe people just like watching gory movies and getting scared silly. I like my explanation better but I am sure some one out there reading this is saying “that chick thinks too much.”


Now this weekend, we did watch ParaNorman.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The story is about an 11-year-old boy who sees ghosts everywhere. Even his grandmother visits with him because she promised to always watch over him. He is seen as weird and different, including by his own family although his mother tries to make life easier for her son.


Unfortunately, the anniversary of the witch approaches. The undead bodies of the seven men who tried and sentenced the witch will roam the town until the sun rises. To make things more tense, it has been left to Norman to settle the witch and help her find peace for one more year.


It is a family movie with some PG swearing that is dark and brooding. Norman is relentlessly bullied and tries to keep a low profile in order to be a part of the scene and not the center. When another bullied kid tries to befriend him, he brushes off the other kid, choosing to remain alone to protect himself.


I find it is a movie about regrets, of a past that needs to be fixed to solve the present.


The kids like it and I found it interesting to watch. I might watch it again just to see the little bits of good stop-action animation that I missed. Are there greater lessons to be taken away from this movie for the kids? Well, yes there are. But I will leave that to you to ponder.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Working Up to Animated Oscar

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Can I admit that I have not kept up with movie viewing as much as I should?


I have been watching some movies. The other week a friend and I went to see Les Mis. But let’s be honest, the movie that is the most grand at being sad is the one that will win the Oscar. The one that tries to state the most about the human condition and its actors will be the one that wins.


This year I have tried to focus more on the animated features with the thought that I have seen those.


Once I looked at the list I realized I had seen just one – Brave.


Judging an animated movie means I am not looking at just the story and how well it is told and portrayed. I am also looking at the animation. What about the animation of a particular film makes it better than any of the others out there?


This year, the big feat was creating the curls of Merida’s hair in Brave.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

I assume that most animated characters have straight hair or a helmut of hair because it is very detailed work to make curly hair. Even the Japanese anime have hair that is a consistent collection of angles and sharp points. This way, hair does not have to change very much.


With curly hair, the story is different. Strands move with every tip of the head. You don’t have to merely move the shadow on the head, you have to move over 100 strands of corkscrew curls. That takes effort.


We did rent Frankenweenie after the nominations came out. The story is about a boy named Victor who re-animates his dog, Sparky, after the pet is hit by a car. But as competition for the upcoming science fair heats up, the other kids want the secret to Victor’s success. But problems occur, monsters are created, and only Victor and Sparky can solve the problem.


I like the stop action-animation, it worked smoothy and integrated well with the storyline. I also liked the black-and-white color palate which was a reference to every monster movie that would have inspired director Tim Burton.  This movie had many references that the parents or movie buffs would have recognized more readily than the kids for whom this movie was aimed.


I found the story to be very sweet, how actual love of a project makes it successful in terms of ending up the way you want it. But overall, I was under whelmed by Frankenweenie. It is a good movie, it is not a great movie. While that is good enough for deciding what to watch at home, is it enough for the grandest award in the film industry?


I would love to see Wreck-it Ralph before it completely leaves theaters. It is possible to rent The Pirates and ParaNorman but to be honest, neither of those movies appeal to me or my kids. Every time I say “Let’s get The Pirates,” they say “let’s not.”


When it comes to family viewing, sometimes what you want more than an award nominated film is something everyone wants to watch.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.