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  • Quirky composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion makes his animated film score debut with the LAIKA creature feature ParaNorman. Though the pairing may initially seem odd, looking back at some of Brion's live action movie music -- P.T. Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love, Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kaufmann's Synecdoche, New York -- reveals surrealist leanings that paint the picture. In fact, before Brion wrote a single note for ParaNorman, directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell listened to the Eternal Sunshine soundtrack while editing scenes, helping to build the film's atmosphere of offbeat fun and darkly beautiful fantasy. As preteen misfit Norman grapples with school bullies and tries to save his town from a witch's centuries-old curse, Brion is on hand to elevate all of the action, from Goblin-esque eerie synth lines ("Zombie Attack in the Eighties," "Zombies Attack"), paranoid, lurching percussion ("Aggie Fights"), and monster movie majesty ("Goodbye Mr P/Historic Drama/Grounded/Heavy Visitation"), to gentle Tin Pan Alley melodies (main theme "Norman at the Piano") and pastoral Laurel Canyon pop ("Norman's Walk"). Some of ParaNorman's less stylized moments, like "Moth Rock," recall Danny Elfman's work with Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride), but all in all it's a Frankenstein's monster-like mish-mash of kid-friendly chills and silly camp, synthesized through Brion's high-concept eccentricity.
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