The long-established technique of stop-motion animation gets a 3D upgrade in the darkly comic ParaNorman.
The film focuses on a boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, who can speak to the dead and becomes his town’s only hope when it is invaded by zombies.
“Norman is — he’s smart and he is vulnerable, and he’s weird. But he’s also got a nice light touch and Kodi was perfect at bringing that to life,” said co-director Chris Butler.
Fellow co-director Sam Fell added: “It was important that Norman wasn’t tortured by this thing, by his gift. This is not the kid from ‘The Sixth Sense’. This is a kid that actually enjoys talking to ghosts.”
ParaNorman features the latest technology deployed in conjunction with stop-motion techniques. They even used a colour 3D printer to create the puppets and their facial expressions.
It is only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D.
Butler said: “It’s like an army of people who are working every hour of the day for three years to get this thing moving. And that’s like 330 people at some points. There can be a tendency to think of stop-motion as kind of this historical novelty because it has been around so long. But actually if you use today’s technology on what we love about stop-motion, you can really bring it into the next century. And I think that’s what we did in ParaNorman with the colour 3D printer, with the replacement face technology.”