#5: ParaNorman
To truly appreciate ParaNorman it helps to think of the incredible amount of work that went into making it. Animators spent months on end moving tiny pieces fractions of an inch and snapping photographs, working to put all of the images in order to create the illusion of movement and life. From a technical standpoint the movie is a true piece of blood, sweat and tears art and one of the most truly beautiful pieces to be released this year. And that’s not even taking into account the script, characters, performances or thousands of other factors that make the film one of the best of the year.

The story of a boy named Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who has the ability to talk with the dead and must work to stop a witch’s curse from destroying his town, the film truly puts the audience in the mindset of a kid and has a powerful message not only against bullying, but in encouraging people to accept who they are, abnormal as they may be. Every step of writer/co-director Chris Butler’s script is a surprise, as conventions are turned on their ear and played with nearly to the point of parody (but it’s never overt). There are some questions regarding the movie’s suitability for young kids, as there are some legitimately creepy/scary moments, but there isn’t an adult out there who should hesitate at the opportunity to see ParaNorman.

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