I have just finished watching ParaNorman for the second time. I did not like it the first time, but watching it the second go around really made me infuriated. Like, seething with hatred. Not at the cliched story, not at the mediocre character design (why do the humans look more dead than the zombies and ghosts?) But at three things:
1. The ending. Spoiler alert, the character named Mitch is gay. This is not a problem, I cannot express that enough. What IS a problem is how they decided to reveal his preference - a ridiculously stupid joke that trashes any, and I mean ANY, means of character development for Mitch, and most for Courtney, who spends half the movie trying to flirt with him. I know a lot of people find it funny, I find it insulting.
2. The characters. Each and every one of them feels like a cardboard cut-out. You've got the freak, the bully, the buffed jock, the jolly fat friend, the sassy black woman, the paranoid guy, and most of all...
3. The negligent parents. The mother seems as if she is barely even there, barely paying attention. Not just to her son, but to ANYthing. What, was she on prozac? But, the character I actually wanted to see get eviscerated was the father. Both of these two make me think of my former mother (I've cut off all contact to her due to) and her abusive, cruel husband. I saw WAY too much of both of them in these two "parents." Near the end of the movie, when Harry (the "father," I use that term extremely loosely) sees Norman climb a tower to talk to the ghost in the sky, he shouts out, "You're supposed to be grounded!" I literally screamed, "WHY AREN'T YOU DEAD?!" I cannot go any further into detail out of the risk of slander, but f**k this character. With a broken garden rake.
That said, once the third act started (from the point where Norman watches the trial of Aggie) it began to redeem itself. It actually felt watchable. Aggie's ghost was awe-inspiring, for example, and when she falls asleep on Norman's shoulder, I actually felt good "awww" vibes. And even beforehand, there were some very imaginative scenes, like the walls burning away to reveal another location. I do plan on making a review of this movie later on, but I'm just putting this up as a forewarning. My score, as of right now, is 6/10. If the father was a stepfather, instead, it'd be a 1/10 and therefore, banned in my house. I hate him THAT much.