Monday, September 03, 2012

I had a free pass to go see a preview screening of ParaNorman a couple weeks ago, but when we tried to go see it there was come kinda' technical difficulty and the screening was cancelled. It was a sad afternoon indeed, but we did get run-of-engagement free passes and as an added bonus some of those wrist-bands that transform into different shapes (in this case, ParaNorman characters).

While in Toronto last night, and too worn out to do anything too productive, we braved downtown fake Times Square to go to the former AMC Cinema to make use of said free passes. It was a really weird theatre. The box office was on the main floor, then you had to go up roughly 85 different escalators, through a food court, then some more escalators, then past some Raiders of the Lost Ark calibre obstacles, before finally reaching a place that plays movies. Then we got into the theatre...and went up more escalators! We must have been about 300 stories above ground level at least.

I go to multiplexes on the free every so often, and I know hate is a strong word, but I kinda' hate watching movies in them. In the theatre where we viewed our movie, you could hear music and the sounds of various action movie explosions leaking in through the walls. I would have been more upset if I had actually paid I guess.

Luckily the movie was excellent, which helped distract from the sub-par theatrical exhibition surroundings. I love classical animation, and there have been a number of cg masterpieces the past few years (from Pixar), but there is something magical when it comes to stop-motion animation. It's an animated special effect, but there's a fantastical realism that the other cartoon art-forms don't quite reach.

ParaNorman's world is reminiscent of the 1980's geek cult classics the likes of Goonies and Monster Squad, with a bit more of a Tim Burton / Vincent Price of a twist. It's a horror movie that's safe for kids, with really great characters and proof that an original script can get through every once and a while in this age that gets constant criticism for it's lack of motion picture originality.

I liked the movie after having seen it, and the more I think about it the more I realize that I actually really loved it. I think it's going to become a Halloween viewing tradition for me right up there with Nightmare Before Christmas and Charlie Brown.

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