Below are my thoughts on Looper, ParaNorman, Frankenweenie, and Pitch Perfect. Have you seen them? If so, share your thoughts in the comments!  Later this week, I’ll have some more guest bloggers with some terrific giveaways.

Despite different endings, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie have wonderfully similar messages
Despite different endings, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie have similar messages

Looper (time traveling assassin)

At times reminiscent of Terminator, Twelve Monkeys, and Inception, this film was fantastic. I know some reviewers have discussed the film’s time traveling paradoxes (and it’s true, some parts of the plot require an even greater willing suspension of disbelief than normally required for time travel movies), but the other parts of the film (the acting, the slightly futuristic 2044 Kansas world, and the surprisingly sentimental character motivations) make it all worthwhile. The only thing I was confused about was the sound of the crying baby when Old Joe was with his wife. If you’ve seen it, what do you make of that? Was that part of a plotline that was later abandoned?

ParaNorman (boy can speak with ghosts)

One Friday night during the holiday break, I took my youngest to see Parental Guidance, but it was sold out by the time we made it to the theater. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we came home and rented ParaNorman. I feel certain I would not have enjoyed Parental Guidance as much as I did ParaNorman. Because most of the movie up until the end was funny, the climatic ending scene between Norman and Aggie was more sad, scary, and serious than I expected it to be. But, of course, “scary” is relative. (Obviously, it’s not true horror and my eight year old was fine with it).

Frankenweenie (boy brings dog back from dead)

It’s Tim Burton so I wanted to see this immediately, but I wasn’t able to see it in the theater so I had to wait. Two things that had my kids hesitating over it was that it was all black & white and one of them thought it would be too sad. No doubt there were sad moments, but this movie was as wonderful as I thought it would be and everyone was glad I convinced them to watch. The whole family enjoyed it. It’s cute, funny, and not very scary.

Pitch Perfect (all girl a capella group competes in college competition)

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned how much I love watching movies about young performers. (Lemonade Mouth was adorable too and better suited to younger audiences). These kind of films are just pure fun. They require little to no thought to watch, they are not emotionally wrenching or graphically violent. They have no hard-core message. They are predictable, but that’s also why they aren’t stressful. Let’s see… what else can I say other than I thought Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson stole the show. They (and the musical numbers) were awesome! 😀

Final Thoughts – ParaNorman v. Frankenweenie (spoilers!)

It’s interesting to compare and contrast ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. Both films have outcast protagonists with no “real” friends. (Victor’s best friend is his dog and Norman spends more time interacting with ghosts than living people). So it was neat to see two very different possible endings for protagonists like them. In ParaNorman, the ordeal with the zombies and the witch leads Norman to integrate himself more fully into his family and community. Norman has a clear “real” friend by the end of the movie – Neil. I think, because I watched ParaNorman first, I kept thinking Frankenweenie would end similarly – with Victor peacefully accepting Sparky’s death, grateful that he had more time with him and/or was able to say goodbye, and then deciding to embrace a “real” friend – Edgar. So I was pleasantly surprised when Sparky lived and continued to be Victor’s best friend. For me, the underlying messages are the same: close relationships are the key to happiness. Who your relationship is with matters less than the fact that you have one.