Laika’s ParaNorman opened this week and it’s a breakthrough in naturalistic stop-motion. I discuss the significance of rapid prototyping in color, more expressive acting, and greater overall verisimilitude at the Portland, Oregon, studio in my latest TOH/Indiewire column.
Although Laika’s ParaNorman doesn’t reach the brilliant heights of Coraline (after all, Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick are a pretty unbeatable combination), it achieves something remarkable in its own right: verisimilitude. That’s pretty unique for stop-motion, and the Portland, Oregon-based Laika now has something to build on for the future, thanks to the perfection of its rapid prototype 3D color printer and a marvelous movie that looks more authentic. The fact that this story of inclusion happens to be both funny and scary at the same time also makes it worthy of Oscar consideration, even in this crowded year of stop-motion, which has already seen the release of Aardman’s The Pirates: Band of Misfits and concludes with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the potential front-runner from Disney (Oct. 5).