From 'Brave' to 'Zarafa'
Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Distributor: Focus Features
The Lowdown: Laika, Inc.'s last stab at things saw a lot of critical approval and an Oscar nod for "Coraline" in 2010. Half of that equation is in tact for the beautifully rendered stop-motion "ParaNorman" as critics were mostly on board, but it's left to be seen whether the animators will take to it. My inclination is that they might but the presence of "Frankenweenie" feels like it's pulling away from this one a little bit. I actually liked "ParaNorman" slightly more than "Coraline" and was touched by its story and message as well as its magnetic characters. Surely others will be, too. Box office wasn't quite up to the same level of Laika's last film, though. (Not that "Frankenweenie" will end up doing much better.) So I mark this one somewhere around the bubble line at the moment. It deserves to be in the thick of it, though.