ParaNorman Revisited

(To celebrate the release of Missing Link, we’re revisiting the stop-motion animated films of Laika this week and discussing why they’re so special. Today: ParaNorman is the kind of kid-friendly horror movie that could transform a youngster into a genre fan for life.)

My transformation into the horror-lovin’ goblin y’all know around these parts was not a graceful one. Early childhood memories are those of anxious fear. Hiding from Child’s Play commercials, avoiding Party City depots during Halloween, and so on. It wasn’t until my later high school years where “so bad it’s good” trash masterpieces sparked my spooky-but-outrageous interests. College is where I dove headfirst into the meanest, most vile terrifiers the genre has to offer, then started gradually working backward. Again, not very methodical. In a different life, I would – and should – have started with a balanced introductory horror tale for the whole family such as Laika’s ParaNorman: satire, homage, and chilling goosebumps bedtime story all rolled into one stop-motion-magnificent package.

It’s no surprise that Laika cuts through festering flesh to expose the immeasurable deepness of our human experience. By embracing horror, creators Chris Butler and Sam Fell provide commentary on death, grief, and acceptance with unflinching steadiness. Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) can see bodyless souls trapped on Earth until their unfinished business is completed, whether that be protection from a townwide witch’s curse or grandmother’s vow as a guardian angel. ParaNorman wastes no time becoming an allegory for providing comfort in death since those long buried still live on in our remembrance or actions, never mincing words nor message.

So how does Laika achieve this understanding without scaring children into existential confusion? Through a genre veteran’s appreciative lens, no less? By embracing what horror fans have known all along – there is no greater, more comforting feeling than confronting our fears face to cackling face.

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Cantina Band Documentary

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this Comic-Con edition, watch a trailer for an upcoming documentary about the cantina band from Star Wars: A New Hope, take a tour through LAIKA‘s fantastic stop-motion animation exhibition from San Diego Comic-Con, and check out some of the best cosplay that was spotted all around the massive convention last week. Read More »

Thor Ragnarok Mondo Print

Today is Thanksgiving, when families all round the country gather to stuff their faces with delicious food and argue about politics. Then we follow that up with Black Friday, when we forget about all the things were were thankful for so we can run through the aisles of various retails outlets for discounted electronics, appliances and more. But if you’re not the kind of person to brave the massive crowds out in the real world, there’s plenty of good stuff for you to snag online as well.

The awesome folks at Mondo have a handful of great Black Friday deals which include new prints for Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Thor: Ragnarok, Ex Machina and the films of LAIKA, not to mention a deluxe edition of The Art of Mondo book. Check out all of the Mondo Black Friday deals below. Read More »

the laika experience

Comic-Con doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow (although it unofficially kicks off tonight with all kinds of previews and off-site presentations), but everyone in San Diego can already get a little taste of some cinematic magic. LAIKA, the stop-motion animation studio behind films like Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings has set up shop in the Gaslamp District, offering a walkthrough mini-museum showing off puppets and sets from their movies.

And while you don’t have to be a Comic-Con badge holder to check out The LAIKA Experience, not everyone can be in San Diego. But we’ve got you covered. We checked it out and we returned with photos. Lots and lots of photos.

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Laika Experience at Comic-Con

In less than two weeks, over 130,000 fans will descend upon southern California for the annual San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest pop culture convention in the world. The/Film crew will be there to bring you the big updates from all the panels and events happening on site, and one of the events we’ll be attending doesn’t even require the coveted Comic-Con badge. In fact, it’s free, and anyone in the San Diego area can check it out.

The stop-motion animation studio LAIKA has announced a pop-up event in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego where they will showcase props, puppets, monsters, and sets from Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline, as well as fan art, interactive experiences, giveaways and a shop for picking up some sweet merchandise. Find out below what you can see at The LAIKA Experience at Comic-Con later this month. Read More »

Laika 10th Anniversary

Stop-motion animation is perhaps the most difficult in the entire animation field. Animators have to move their characters and sets by a single frame at a time to film 24 frames in a second. And if you’ve seen movies from Laika such as Coraline and ParaNorman, then you know that they don’t hold back when it comes to intricate and meticulously crafted production pieces.

Now a new video reel from Laika celebrates 10 years of stop-motion magnificence, running through clips and behind the scenes footage from their films Coraline, ParaNorman and most recently The Boxtrolls. Plus, there’s some new footage from their forthcoming adventure Kubo and the Two Strings. Watch! Read More »

Laika auction

Laika has a knack for creating worlds we’d want to live in: beautifully hand-crafted, gorgeously detailed, and a tad off-kilter. And while it’s unlikely we’ll ever actually get to visit Cheesebridge or Blithe Hollow or Other World (since they’re, y’know, fictional) we’ll now have the opportunity to take a bit of those worlds home with us.

The animation studio has just announced an auction — the first in the company’s history — with over 250 puppets, props, models, and art pieces up for grabs. But if you haven’t got the money to buy your own Other Mother from Coraline or Mecha-Drill from Boxtrolls, fear not. Select items will go on a brief exhibition tour before they go up for sale. More details on the Laika auction, including photos and descriptions of some key offerings, after the jump. Read More »

Oscar nominees might have a gut-wrenching experience waiting to hear their name called (or not) during the Academy Awards but at least they don’t have posters to buy. For the second year in a row, Mondo has announced they’ll be selling posters by multiple artists for different Oscar-nominees. The first three have just been revealed and, with them, you’ll see this series is not just limited to Best Picture nominees. After the jump check out:

  • Les Miserables by Olly Moss
  • The Master by Laurent Durieux
  • Paranorman by DKNG

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slashfilmcast550

In this episode, Dave, Devindra, and Adam chat about the spate of hot new sci-fi film trailers, lament the preachiness of Flight, and get really troubled by Compliance. Special guest Joanna Robinson joins us from Pajiba. Be sure to check out the bad language in Lincolnthe science of high framerates, and how Tolkein retconned his own books.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

It’s been a big day for awards, as the New York Film Critics Circle kicked off awards season, handing out the first accolades for achievement in filmin 2012. (Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were the big winners.) Now here are the nominations for the animation-specific Annie Awards, and these might make people happy who were puzzled by the NYFCC award given to Frankenweenie as the best animated film of the year. Those tallying numbers here might want to see more noms for Wreck-It Ralph, but in general the year’s releases are well represented, with the expected nods towards Brave, Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, and more.

Get the full list below. Read More »