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Stop Motion

FIRST LOOK: “ParaNorman”

Here’s a teaser for Laika’s next 3D stop-motion feature film, being directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away, The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (storyboard supervisor, Coraline, Corpse Bride). Love the use of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch for this. ParaNorman will be released by Focus Features on August 17, 2012.

  • eeteed

    we gotta wait HOW LONG??? no fair.

    wonder if a film like this would do better with a halloween release?

    • tredlow

      No. Because then we’ll have to wait longer.

  • Allan

    Also directed by Chris Butler, who wrote the original story.

  • Joe G

    Can’t tell from the trailer,is it stop motion or CG?

    • Mad Hatter

      Stop motion

    • N

      Looks like really smooth stop motion. Could be stylized 3D though.

      • It’s not, it’s very carefully crafted stop-motion.

    • It’s stop-motion. Though, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought it was CG. Stop-Motion’s come a LOOOOOONG way!

    • Cath

      im guessing a mixture of both.

  • Joe

    All I see are pixels.

    • Sorgs

      If you can watch animation under a different medium than what appeals to you and are still so uptight and elitist that you find nothing appealing about it, then sorry, but you’ve failed as an artist.

      • EricB

        I found the video compression rather heavyhanded as well. The film looks dope!

      • Sorgs

        Oh, THAT’S what he meant! Sorry, mate. The egg’s on my face with that one. Guess I need to try and keep the pistol holstered a little better.

    • Gobo

      Go here, click the HD button, and revel in the stop-motion beauty.

  • ZiggyStardust

    i honestly cant tell if its cg or stop motion. if its stop motion, thats some damn smooth animation

  • Wow, this looks like it could be a lot of fun. I hope it doesn’t disappoint!

  • tedzey

    This is stop motion, right? Cause it looks as incredibly fluid like computer animation!

    LAIKA, you’ve done it again! You’re giving Aardman a run for their money!

    • wever

      Even after reading a press release about this months ago, I truly thought it was CG when seeing the first shot in the trailer!

  • Skip

    Looks really good, can’t wait.

  • Bob Harper

    2012 looks to be a fantastic year for diverse animation. I am so excited by this and so many movies that are coming our way!

  • damn

    the film is CG and stop motion…they did some CG face replacement …looks HOT

  • Toonio

    Socially awkward kid, check!
    Kid in woods shot, check!
    Creepy friend, check!
    Kid in dangerous situations, check!
    No Dreamworks smirk, check!

    It’s a Laika film all right.

    Will I go to see it. Bet your sweet donkey I will.

    • tedzey

      wow. Only two films and Laika’s built a reputation for certain cliches. What about that award winning tropicana commercial they produced as well?

  • cbat628

    I’ve always liked Laika’s work, and this seems especially interesting. This trailer has definitely gotten my attention. Also, I have to agree with Jerry, this was a nice song selection!

  • Justin

    This looks great. I kind of like when they blur the line between mediums. Its fun to try to and figure out whats what.

  • Looks interesting. Can’t wait till next August comes.

  • Bud

    Wow. Just “wow.” That looks INCREDIBLE! Here’s hoping the film is as great as it’s promise.

  • A trailer for an animated feature that doesnt have ridiculously huge hollywood names swooshing across the screen in those fast motion/slow motion shots.

    Also, no abrasive current flavour of the month pop music shoe-horned into the trailer and film ????

    And ultimately, an animated feature whose trailer doesnt rely on snarky self indulgent half witted “dialogues” but a pure harmony of audio and visual rhythmic harmony ?????


    • pure blend of *

    • Funkybat

      The whole approach to the trailer was a very refreshing change. This could be ( and may yet still be) marketed in a much more crass/mass market way, with Danny Elfman-esque music set over quick-cut footage of endless “action.” The great animation would still show through, but I doubt the anticipation would be built up in the audience nearly as well. Bravo to Laika and to whoever greenlighted this trailer over a more “conventional” one for animated films. This is a “grown up” trailer, even if the film is for all ages (well, maybe not toddlers.)

    • wever

      John Goodman’s in it.

      But he’s in everything.

  • hermes

    Very sad to read that half of the comments are concerned whether or not it is a CG or stopmotion film. It is stop motion, laika does not do CG. There are some CG specialfx and elements to the film, but all the set are hand build and puppets are hand crafted. Not all stopmotion films have to look like fantastic mr. fox or wallace+gromit.

    • “laika does not do CG”
      Actually they have. Henry Selick made a CG short about 5 years ago titled Moongirl.

      • hermes

        Sorry, I meant to say Laika does not do CG anymore.

      • Amy

        They use a LOT of CG– just not in a starring role.

    • Bob Harper

      Laika did Moongirl which according to their site is CG.

    • Toonio

      Quote: “Yeah. Say what you will about Henry Selick, but the s*********h knows story structure.”

    • LK

      I hope you’re not implying that there is something wrong with the look of either ‘Fox’ or ‘Wallace’…?

  • Rufus

    Can’t wait. And great choice for the trailer, hope they keep it that way – just a song that sort of vibes you into it. I’ll be there opening day.

  • Mike

    Looks absolutely amazing–like in Coraline, it looks like Laika’s really pushing boundaries. Between this and Pirates, next year’s going to be fantastic for stop-motion!

    (…also, after seeing something like this, it’s difficult to muster any enthusiasm for something like Puss in Boots at all. Bleh.)

  • Pete

    This looks great, refreshing to see such a tastefully presented trailer.

  • Tomm

    Pure class

  • Mister Twister

    Yes! :)

  • Josef

    Check out their “Made in Oregon, Frame by Frame” clip. Pretty awesome.

  • This looks awesome, and also genuinely scary. I can’t wait.

  • Brian

    The only reason I think that people are debating if it’s stop motion or CG is because they can’t believe that stop-motion can look that good. Luckily, Laika knows what they’re doing, and it looks GORGEOUS. Great trailer, and I’m looking forward to seeing this…. but why do we have til August of next year? That’s so far away! D:

  • As incredible as this looks, I am a smidgeon disappointed by how slick the stop-motion looks. It was my one gripe with Coraline, which I otherwise love to bits. My favorite thing about stop-motion is seeing the animators’, builders’ and designers’ hands behind the animation… that touch of roughness around the edges, like Nightmare, or Mr. Fox, or the trailer for Aardman’s Pirate film.
    Maybe I’m just being too much of a fuddy-duddy, but I just wish stop-motion would stop trying to look so much like CGI. Ah well, personal taste.
    However, beyond that one gripe, boy does this look AMAZING. Can’t wait to see it!

    • Gobo

      I think it’s just trying to look amazing, and it succeeds. Looking awesome isn’t something I have any gripes with.

    • Funkybat

      I get what you’re saying, but I personally am thrilled to see stop-motion taken to this level of sophistication.

      I would never want stop-motion to feel like “3D pretending to be SM” let alone actual 3D pretending to be SM like “Flushed Away.” Aardman tried their mightiest to make it look like clay, but it just felt wrong to me. I’m glad Aardman is once again working primarily in physical materials, real stop-motion, and I’m glad to see Laika do so as well.

      I think there is room for different types of stop motion, there is room for different styles of 3D. I love Wallace and Gromit, seeing the fingerprints and nail marks appear here and there, but I also love Coraline for it’s fantastic I-can’t-believe-its-real realism and grace. I’m just glad to see real stop motion continue to make it to the big screen, it’s a form of animation that takes incredible attention to detail, patience, and discipline.

      • Oh I totally agree, I am also really excited by the level of sophistication. It’s pretty mesmerizing, and I suppose that in itself is a testament to the hard work and talent of all the creatives, the fact that the presence of the animator is almost invisible.

    • LK

      I completely agree with your opinion of ‘Coraline’, but I will add that what I’ve come to realize is that is Selick’s style – slick and polished – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      I, personally, LOVE ‘Fox’ and felt it had ten times the charm and wit of ‘Coraline’… but, I think a large part of that was the marriage of a fantastic script, INCREDIBLE boarding and just picture perfect visuals. ‘Coraline’s visuals are wonderful – I ‘Ooo’d and ‘Ahh’d. The story, however, fell flat while the main character was, unfortunately, a bit unsympathetic.

      I think the people who decide that a stop-motion film has to look one way (polished and slick) or another (jumpy and textured) are robbing themselves of some excitement. Just as a Bakshi film looks distinctly different from a Disney, so will a Selick from an Aardman. It’s just a smaller playing field.

    • wever

      You forget that at one time, Nightmare DID look like the smoothest, slickest stop-motion animation yet. It’s an ever-evolving progression that artists try to push.

      • katy

        Yeah but there’s no point in putting in all that stop-motion effort if no one can tell. One of the main charms and MAGIC of the medium is the pleasure the viewer can have knowing they are looking at real dolls coming to life. If we look but feel we cannot “touch”, then it might as well be fake and just made from polygons anyway.

        I think knowing whether the thing “exists” or not makes an emotional difference – as a quick example, I struggle to think of a time when a cartoon scared me as a child (except perhaps the broomstick scene from Fantasia) – but the “dog terminator” scene in “A Close Shave” was quite terrifying (I was eight at the time). I’m not sure a cartoon or CG version would have the same effect. Medium is important, and it should be about more than just pretty visuals.

  • tredlow

    Whoa. That looks awesome. It’s like Doug TenNapel comic come to life.

  • It’s interesting reading comments about how smooth and polished the stop-moition looks in “ParaNorman.”

    I know on “Frankenweenie” they tried to rough up the designs and puppets a bit after people felt that the “Corpse Bride” looked too CG. In the stills for the Entertainment Weekly article on “Frankenweenie” ( can see a lot of little imperfections.

    I’ve always liked the hand-crafted aspect of stop-motion so the polish on “ParaNorman” is a little off-putting, but that’s just me. If what they do pushes the artform forward then I’m all in favor of it.

  • Stop-motion, CGI… *who* cares? all I know is the film looks brilliant and fun. I’m eagerly waiting to enjoy this new Laika release :-D

  • Emily

    This looks great!!! Look forward to seeing it.

  • now compare this trailer with the one from The Lorax
    there are poles apart!
    I just felt … LOVE

  • Mike


    Kinda reminds me of the children’s films of the ’80s… which were frightening and more than just a tad disturbing.

    Anyone else scarred for life by “Return to Oz” and “The Neverending Story”? (And I mean “scarred for life” in its most positive, nostalgic sense.)

  • Tom

    Looks absolutely fantastic! Better quality trailer here, by the way:

    The musical choice threw me for a loop… but in a good way.

  • justiggity


  • Maya A.

    This looks really good. August can’t come soon enough.

  • Daniel

    AMAZING!! so excited to watch this~

  • I am the maximum amount of excited for this movie. Feels like forever since CORALINE (which I loved) and this one appears to tap the same rich vein of cartoony horror for kids.

  • Nick Mac

    don’t agree with the coraline hate. There were a bunch of different moments when you could see the realistic texture of objects – like Coraline’s hair, the water,the snow, the smoke. the movements were smoother overall, but I think Laika actually paid extra attention to preserving the artifice of the medium.

    This new one seems to be abandoning some of that approach, but why is that bad? there will always be a quality of movement and light that can’t be fully replicated in CGI (or at least I hope so). It’s all just a different approach to a form, created with love and respect.

  • First, I love Coraline , I think it was beautiful and it was why I was interested in this. There are many things about Chris and Sams film I think will be , dare I say, ground breaking. The stop motion in 3D is quite awesome, at least the ones I saw in dailies.

    So, why puppetry in an age where you can just do it digitally? For that answer , how would everyone feel about redoing all the puppetry of Yoda in Star Wars ? Anyone ? It would be smoother for sure, My love of puppetry, marionettes and stop motion, Gumby or George Pal is that they are physical and they exist. The sets were exquisite! I dont know how to explain the joy of seeing these things in reality. It was amazing. There is a poetry to the magnificent work that makes a beautiful armature.

    While I’m off doing other things now I get this funny thrill seeing clips. Peg Serena the head of facial and her amazing crew , Brad Schiff animation supervisor and his terrific group did just an amazing job. I think you will find it a fun ride.

    If you want to know how Laika do it, watch the film frame by frame on their site.

    And yes, these are the real people, and they are exactly like what they seem. Charming.