While it’s tough to get critics to agree on anything these days, it’s a good sign that a few notables have gone for Paranorman, most especially the NY Times’ Manohla Dargis, who writes:

The story, an amusing if not especially fresh tale involving a witch and some Puritans, is principally a vehicle for the movie’s meticulously detailed pictorial beauty, which turns each scene into an occasion for discovery and sometimes delight. Far more than Norman’s adventure, which takes him from home to a cemetery and deep into his town’s history, what pulls you in, quickening your pulse and widening your eyes, are the myriad visual enchantments — from the rich, nubby tactility of his clothes to the skull-and-bones adorning his bedroom wallpaper. When Norman pauses while brushing his teeth to make a scary face in the mirror, the foamy toothpaste dripping like zombie drool, you may find yourself tapping into your own inner monster and goofily grinning right back.

Animated Feature will start with Pixar’s Brave. But it will face competition, despite its hefty box office for not being “Pixar enough.” Therefore, it’s open season in the category.