Friday, March 29, 2013

ParaNorman (2012)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Animated Feature - Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Yesterday I wrote about how the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards is a bit of a joke and how unworthy films get nominated in the category, especially when there are five nominees.  Last year proved to be an exception to this problem, as five quality animated films were nominated for Best Animated Feature, with Brave ultimately winning the trophy.  What frustrates me about the category is that nominations are granted to films that are merely competent, decently told stories that hit all the right notes but are entirely predictable and lacking any uniqueness.

Though not as unique as some of the recent nominees from outside the studio system (i.e. Chico & Rita), ParaNorman is far from a paint-by-numbers effort.  It's actually quite a weird film, the story of a young outcast (Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) capable of communicating with the dead, much to the disbelief of nearly everyone around him.  Young Norman must undertake a ritual in order to protect his town from a witch who cast a spell on the town decades ago, but he is interrupted by the arrival of the undead.  This sounds more like a Roger Corman or George Romero plot than a major studio offering; indeed, ParaNorman is even weirder than Tim Burton's animated offering of the same year, Frankenweenie.

I didn't enjoy ParaNorman as much as I did fellow nominee Wreck-It Ralph, and the films drags at times and suffers from underdeveloped characters.  Still, it was anything but predictable, deeply inventive for a major studio animated release, and well deserving of its Oscar nomination.  Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all that so many animated films are nominated...

Remaining: 3158 films, 874 Oscars, 5428 nominations

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