Comic-Con 2012: Raising the Dead with the Cast of ‘ParaNorman’
It was really only a matter of time before zombies dragged themselves out of horror films and dark comedies, and headed straight for children’s movies. The new 3D stop-motion animated flick, ParaNorman, might just be the first zombie movie for kids, but its stars and creators promise that in reality, it’s so much more. Film Equals was at Comic-Con to find out why.
Kodi Smit-McPhee voices the titular role of Norman, an outcast who has the ability to communicate with the recently (or not-so recently) deceased. This comes in handy when a witch’s curse threatens to destroy Norman’s town. With his best friend, his cheerleader sister (Anna Kendrick), her crush (Casey Affleck) and even the school bully (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Norman must deal with the dead to save the living.
On the surface, this could be a very light movie about zombies, but there’s another level to this story. It’s a tale of bullies, and not just ones who come in the form of teenagers with cruel insults. Anyone and everyone can be bullied, even zombies. But the actors are quick to point out that this message never overshadows the story which, when boiled down, is just about a boy finding his own inner strength and saving the day.
Coming off the success of their last film, Coraline, the producers of ParaNorman were eager to play around with 3D stop animation again. CGI has its place, they all say, but the end product, the tactile models used in the movie, cannot be duplicated. To demonstrate the incredible detail of the models, the producers brought several of the figures use in the movie and even allowed the press to touch and feel them. Each one is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and imagination…and costs roughly $100,000. We did not touch them for very long.
But technology aside, what the writer, producers and actors hope that children will take away from the movie is a renewed affection not only for zombies, but for anyone who doesn’t quite fit in. Judging by the enthusiasm from everyone involved in the project, they are very eager to get that message of understanding and tolerance out into the world…yet at the end of the day, all they really want is a story that their chidren will love to watch. With zombies.
ParaNorman drags itself into theatres August 17th, 2012.