ParaNorman is a stop action film that’s got some cool voice talent, and is about a very unusual subject to a certain extent. Although you could argue that almost all animation is about outsiders, which means that bullying is not an uncommon phenomenon in animation, or as my producer says ‘they’re all cartoons to me,’ but in this one we have a New England town that is founded on witchcraft to the extent that a number of the stores, including the casino and seemingly a strip club are all named after witches. There’s even a statue of an old hag on a broom in the town square. It turns out Norman is the outcast who has a sister who’s mean to him and a father and mother who don’t really understand him because he talks to dead people, including his grandmother, who’s feet are always cold; and as Norman’s father said, ‘Norman, her feet are cold because she’s dead.’ So this has got some very clever lines in it, some kind of mordant, ironic humor. But the bottom line or maybe not the bottom line, is this is a movie about bullying and how to respond to it and how not to be vengeful, so it seems particularly relevant these days. The actual theme of the movie doesn’t come out until about the last 10 or 15 minutes and before then, you’ll probably get a kick out of some of the characters and some of the voicing. It seems to not make a whole lot of sense to me before then, in that it seems sort of a combination of Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice and all sorts of other kind of vaguely scary movies. But the last 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll love, and your kids will love. This may be a little scary for young kids, which is too bad, although fairy tales have always been a little scary for kids, but certainly a worthwhile theme. Three and a half stars.