— Posted by Alyssa
— Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
— Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Casey Affleck
— Grade: A solid B+
Someone has out-Tim Burtoned Tim Burton. He’ll have to watch his back for the King of most haunting, visually-stunning animation because Laika Entertainment (which also gave us the equally awesome Coraline) is going to surpass him in creepily satisfactory family films. In all fairness, the production company has worked with Tim Burton before (Corpse Bride) but he’s going to have to stop with the Johnny Depp stuff if he wants to be back on top (I’m crossing my fingers for Frankenweenie).
An outcast in his hometown because of his ESP, Norman (Smit-McPhee) is trying to get used to his abilities while attempting to fit in. Nobody understands Norman and his ability to see ghosts. At home his father is ashamed of him, his cheerleader sister Courtney (Kendrick) is indifferent, and his mom (Mann) is trying to look out for him, but doesn’t know how to help. At school things are not much better. He has a school bully Alvin (Mintz-Plasse) who constantly writes “Freak” on his locker. The only silver lining in his otherwise stormy life is the new friend he has made in the easily-lovable Neil. After Norman bites off more than he can chew and takes on the living dead to stop an evil witch’s curse, his family and peers (including Neil’s brother Mitch (Affleck)) go on a wild chase with Norman.
The movie doesn’t really establish itself as an anti-bullying story completely. Some of the lessons it wants you to learn are hazy (especially for a child). However, based on the dialogue and astoundingly intricate detail in the animation, this is definitely a movie that has its adult audience in mind. It’s absolutely stunning how detailed this animation is. It’s certified Oscar bait at its finest. I have high hopes for this production company if they continually deliver these Halloween delicacies. My mouth is watering at the possibilities…