Directed By: Sam Fell and Chris Butler

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Elaine Stritch

In recent years, animated films have been walking a fine line.  They keep the kiddies entertained with the silly stuff, but they incorporate nuggets of humor for the adults that should fly right over the kids' heads.  If mom and dad are forced to go see a cartoon about an ogre in a world of fairy tales, some live toys and their wild adventures, or some dancing penguins in the arctic, they damn well better enjoy it too.  With this week's film ParaNorman, parents don't have to worry.  They might get more entertainment out of this one.

Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an odd kid.  He claims that he can talk to dead people.  He frequently chats with his recently deceased grandmother (Elaine Stritch) and the ghosts of his community.  At home, his father Perry (Jeff Garlin) and his sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) ridicule him for even thinking that he can talk to the dead.  His mother Sandra doesn't understand or believe in Norman's gift but tries to accept her son for what he is.  At school, Norman faces even more ridicule.  The vast majority of his classmates think he's an insane freak.  Bullies like Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) make this very clear to Norman on a daily basis.  Despite this, he finds a friend in Neil Downe (Tucker Albrizzi).

Norman is not the only crazy person in the New England town of Blithe Hollow.  Like Norman, Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) can talk to the dead.  Ailing and realizing his imminent death, Mr. Prenderghast seeks out Norman to warn him about the witch's curse and to charge the boy with the duty of preventing it as he has done all his life.  He finds Norman but fails to tell Norman what he needs to know.  Unfortunately, he dies before getting the words out.  Because Norman can talk to the dead, the grave is just a minor obstacle for Mr. Prenderghast.  Norman eventually gets the message, one way or another.  Now, he must stop the witch's curse before the dead come back to life and terrorize the town.

ParaNorman is one awesome animated movie.  The Sixth Sense meets Shrek in this zombie horror flick for kids.  Directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler have really put something special together.  While the film’s dark, grim visuals are reminiscent of Tim Burton's work in the genre, this stop-motion animated picture is something fresh and innovative for both kids and adults.  The kids should be thoroughly entertained by Norman, Neil, the zombies, and their crazy adventures.  The adults should get a kick out of the film’s satire of the horror genre and its mature jokes that will fly right over kids' heads.

The cast does some great voice acting throughout ParaNorman.  As the titular character Norman, Kodi Smit-McPhee gives the movie its heart.  He gives us a downright lovable protagonist.  Tucker Albrizzi's Neil is a great addition to the film as well.  He brings a lot of the slapstick humor that will appeal to the kids.  The adults will love Anna Kendrick's Courtney and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's Alvin.  These two keep it real throughout the flick and bring lots of hilarious dialogue on life, sex, and zombies.  As Mr. Prenderghast and Norman's grandmother, John Goodman and Elaine Stritch offer plenty of dry humor as well.

ParaNorman is definitely the best animated flick I've seen this year so far.  It's a film that has something for everyone.  If you like horror films, there are ghosts and zombies everywhere for you.  If you like spoofs, there's plenty of satire.  If you're a parent just trying to keep your kids entertained for a couple of hours, you might find yourself enjoying this movie more than them.  If you just love a good animated flick, this is your movie right here.  ParaNorman gets a strong 0.03% rating have some wine coolers with this one.