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Reviews & Ratings for
ParaNorman More at IMDbPro »

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Index 174 reviews in total 

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

stunning cool film!!!

Author: ronancraven from Ireland
16 September 2012

went to see this film earlier today. 2d version with my kids, girl 7, boy 5. i loved it. loads of funny adult humour which flies over the kids heads. very unique cartoon in a very good way. i normally sleep through kids films but this one kept me awake. the fact its not CGI is a huge plus. film had a more realistic feel to it because of this. visually film is excellent so congrats to whoever was involved with that side of things. two kids never opened their mouths from start to finish bar laughing and milling 4euro bars of chocolate. normally they ask me when is the film over or i'm bored etc etc. had a feeling they were as impressed as me which they both confirmed at the end of the film. all in all, 3 of us went home very happy. regarding bringing young kids to it, don't worry at all in my opinion. Was loads of kids in the cinema and i didn't see anyone leave early or cry or appear frightened. thanks all involved with with the film. probably my favourite kiddie trip to the cinema!!!!!!!!!

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

movie review

Author: lmbd2001 from saudi arabia, jubail
16 September 2012

A great movie, though little out off normal line of movies. Shows unusual background with many bumps on the story line.The graphics were great for a stop-motion film, The voice acting was good and it had a great twist. It was funny, adventurous and had a little emotional touch even the 3D graphics are enjoyable. The director goes strong after his critically acclaimed Coraline. The zombies were funny and it's one of the best animated films, it has a very good character development with ghosts flying in the house doing their unfinished work.Norman the kid is really PARANORMAL and strange. Overall it's easily a must watch from my side. I am looking forward to it's sequel

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Scary, intense, funny, impressive and a tear jerker

Author: rickystickyman from Pan-dimensional
4 September 2012

ParaNorman has been in development since around Coraline came out and you can really tell by how much effort is put into it. This is Chris Butler's third full length movie that he has worked on, except this time he is the writer and director. His other works are Coraline and Corpse Bride, both of which were critically acclaimed stop-motion movies. Either way, ever since the beginning I have been anticipating this movie with high expectations... and usually when you have high expectations a movie tends to fail to those expectations... but not ParaNorman! It's hard for me to describe what makes ParaNorman so awesome without spoiling the plot, so I will do my best. First of all, this movie is violent. Which is saying something for a PG movie because this movie deals with a lot of death and violence but it usually keeps it light-hearted. The movie has great dialogue and is funny without relying on slapstick action too much. Usually it's the clever interaction between the characters which is where all of the humor is. Also, the ending action sequence is amazing/over the top! Laika has once again made an amazing ending action sequence.

There are some reasons why I wouldn't suggest taking really little kids to see this: first of all it is intense. The plot is talking about some pretty dark material and it is technically a horror movie. So expect some jump scares and horror elements. While there is some swearing in this movie, it isn't that bad or frequently used. Also some of the things that make this movie funny is that it makes reference to 1980s horror movies. The soundtrack is very similar to cheap 80s b-movies, and even the intro to the movie is made to look like an 80s movie. In one of the scenes ParaNorman is watching an old 80s zombie movie and it has a stereotypical female character which makes reference to 80s movies. However ParaNorman isn't a parody of 80s movies.

This movie also has really good soundtrack. During the scary b-movie scenes it sounds like a classic 80s soundtrack, but during the emotional scenes the soundtrack really shines. The soundtrack really made certain scenes in the movie powerful.

The stop-motion animation in this movie is amazing! Literally, I have never seen another stop-motion film run with such a high-frame rate and run so smoothly. It looks really nice and the visual effects on the witch's cloud form is truly amazing. The final sequence of the movie also uses some great effects and the witch herself... well... you'll just have to see for yourself. You can tell the Laika studios really cares for every intricate detail in this movie. Honestly it looks better than a CGI movie... mainly because all of the characters are real objects so they naturally look more detailed than a CGI model.

To conclude, ParaNorman is an amazing movie that combines humor, horror, violence and even action to make a great film. The visuals also look better than CGI and this movie is probably the only stop-motion movie that actually has breathtaking moments. The movie also has some tear jerking moment (I know my brother and cousin both shed some tears). Either way, GO SEE THIS MOVIE! BUT DON'T COMPLAIN IF YOU THINK IT ISN'T KID APPROPRIATE! All I can say is that this is one of the greatest animated movies ever to be released.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A very good film with much deeper meaning than what meets the eyes

Author: Balesh Lakshminarayanan from India
28 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are times when you see a film and then you wish the whole world sees it from the same point of view you had. This film is one of those rare films which although hovers around a small boy, some paranormal activities and little fun, the deeper message of love, affection and forgiveness is so strong that it will bring tears to your eyes by the end. The movie subtly covers the hate plaguing this world and how we should overcome it. Although the script chose to depict the hate through a witches eyes and the protagonist boy being the different person among the crowd being the savior of the world, the story is not the run of the mill animation stuff but has a nice flow and Beautifully written and wonderful animation... a very good movie for family audience.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Brand New Classic

Author: patrickwigington from United States
20 August 2012

Although it is strange for a Zombie themed kids movie to come out so far away from Halloween, this stop-motion film is funny, entertaining, and surprisingly stylistic. This film is filled with humor and action that references many classic horror movies, and as a result, almost seems ready made for a cult-following.

Norman is a strange kid. He can see ghosts, and as a result he is made fun of by his classmates, disowned by his teenage sister, and misunderstood by his parents. However he makes friends with Neil, who gets made of equally because he is fat. The town is celebrating it's 300th anniversary; however, the town has a dark past where an evil witch killed the men that put her to death. Norman's eccentric uncle tells the child that he must put the witch's ghost back to sleep or all hell will break loose. Of course Norman can't do it in time, and of course all hell breaks loose. The seven men that the witch killed come back from the dead in Zombie form, and Norman, along Neil, their older siblings, and the school bully, run through town trying to stop it all before anyone gets hurt.

The film has a stylized feel, much like the movie Gremlins did. The town looks like a Hollywood backlot, and the characters are all archetypes of the genre. The humor is often mature for children, and probably a little to 21st century for a lot of parents. However, this makes the movie even better, and there is still plenty to enjoy for everyone that sees it. Norman is very likable, and so are all the other characters, especially Norman's uncle, and the punk bully. Not to mention the zombies are actually hilarious and fun characters too, and they really flavor up the movie.

The character designs are all pretty grotesque. Norman is the most normal looking character in the movie. His face resembles the little kid from those old Kleenex commercials. The other characters, however, have either enormous bellys, lopsided faces, or reverse triangle shape bodies. The zombies too have elongated faces and body parts that repeatedly fall off. Many scenes from the movie pay homage to classic horror and monster flicks, which are all done in ways that are funny, enjoyable, and subtle.

ParaNorman may not end up being a financial success, but it is a funny, different, and very cool movie. The ending involving a final battle with the witch stretches on way too long, but the movie has merits that this reviewer was certainly not expecting, and the end of the movie makes up for the tiresome battle. Also, the 3D is good, but certainly not worth the price. This movie is a real unexpected treat to watch, and it almost creates a new genre with the horror film for kids. Some kids might not get it, and of course some may be too young, but the movie is, in the opinion of this reviewer, damn good.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Likable Movie not without it faults

Author: writerfrancoford from United States
20 August 2012

Reviewer @

Basking in the success of their first stop-motion animated feature film Coraline, Laika studios attempts to duplicate that success with its 3-D comedy, ParaNorman. Directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler leads an all-star voice over cast and a team of animators to bring the animated, horror, parody to the big screen.

Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) is the voice of misunderstood adolescent Norman Babcock. Norman has an appreciation for horror flicks and has a bit of a reputation. Norman is considered an outcast in the New England town of Blithe, where he resides with sister, Courtney (Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air); mother, Sandra (Leslie Mann,Knocked up); father, Perry (Jeff Garlin, Curb Your Enthusiasm); and the ghost of his deceased grandmother (Elaine Stritch)—which only he can see and hear. It's his communication with the dead that virtually makes Norman a pariah in his community and keeps him locking horns with his own father—and the fact that no one believes he can actually see the dead. It's only when a curse threatens to destroy the town that the citizens of Blithe soon realize that Norman may be their only hope for salvation.

The script relies on the often-recurring theme of diversity and acceptance to drive the storyline, which quickly moves the film into the realm of predictable. The irony is, nearly every character appears to be drawn perfectly imperfect. Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) whom quickly becomes Norman sidekick looks more like a beach ball than boy. Fell and Butler seemed to have made it a point not to the overload the viewer with aesthetically pleasing animated characters. In fact, many of the characters are often drawn overweight and with distinguishing characteristics. It's seems that it's an attempt to remind the audience that no one is perfect and we're all different—to further drive their point. The characters imperfections are merely parodying society as a whole, which is further illustrated in the plot when the townspeople start their own modern day witch-hunt.

The 3-D animation gives life to the all too familiar storyline and themes, though, eye-popping effects were minimum. Viewers of ParaNorman are left craving more 3-D action from the comedy/horror flick, but that's not to say the movie didn't have its gratifying moments visually. When the witch of Blithe descends upon the city, her spiritual form is represented by a fiery storm cloud with a diabolical face that is slightly eerie even in 3-D animation.

The comedic antis of a capable cast, which includes John Goodman, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Tempestt Bledsoe, further elevates the 3-D comedy, making it a worthwhile watch.The themes of ParaNorman feel a bit repetitive and in your face, but it's still an entertaining film with plenty of laughs for the family.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Too scary for little kids and too frustrating and uneven for adults.

Author: The_Film_Cricket from Birmingham, Alabama
18 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"ParaNorman" is an odd and unsatisfying animated adventure that is probably too scary for little kids definitely too frustrating and uneven for adults. It has a strange tone that shifts back and forth between slapstick comedy and deep solemn melodrama until eventually the melodrama takes over and we arrive at a long climactic scene that is dark and depressing. This is a kid's movie, right?

The movie has a promising beginning, however. It takes place in the small town of Blithe Hollow, a centuries-old berg that, back in the 17th century, was the site of its own version of The Salem Witch Trials. Back then a little girl named Agatha was brought before a kangaroo court on a flimsy accusation that she was practicing witchcraft and was sentenced to death. Upon her death she cursed the town, the cure for which is for someone to annually read from a certain book that will lull her restless spirit back to sleep for another year. Four hundred years later, the curse still persists. The present citizenship of Blithe Hollow is not bothered by the legend; in fact, it embraces the story to the point that the entire town has dedicated its very architecture to witches and witch burnings. The town's welcome sign features a hanging witch along with the words: "Welcome to Blithe Hollow, a great place to hang!"

Within this setting our focus falls on little Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), a spiky-haired ten year-old in whose tiny frame beats a weary heart. Norman is stricken with an unusual ability – he can see dead people. All around him, ghosts wish him good day and he communicates with them freely. The living, especially the adults, don't believe Norman and think that either A.) He has an overactive imagination or B.) He's certifiable. At school, all the kids know about his unusual claim and he often finds the word "Freak" scrawled on his locker. There is an effective scene early in the film that reveals the gravity of Norman's predicament. We see Norman walking down the street on his way to school; his sad eyes focused on the sidewalk as various ghosts pass him and send greetings. The living people, who can't see the dead, sneer and point as he walks past.

Norman's only true friend (among the living) is a portly, optimistic kid named Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) who is the target of school bullies but doesn't let them get him down. He is the positive to Norman's negative, especially in the presence of Alvin, the school's dimwitted head bully. They eventually join Norman in his adventure along with his teenage sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) and Neil's idiot jock brother Mitch (Casey Affleck). The adventure begins when Norman is visited by his crazy old Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) who informs Norman of the town curse and bestows the curse-altering book upon him. He also drops the bad news that the tome must be read at the site of the witch's grave by sundown or the dead with rise from the grave.

Needless to say, Norman doesn't read the book before sundown and the dead start rising from the grave. Panicky townspeople respond with shotguns and pitchforks as Norman struggles to find a way to end the curse. It is about this point that the movie begins to fall apart. The movie should come alive with comic zeal (as promised in the trailer) but it doesn't. There are a few fun slapstick moments but they are undercut by some terribly sad revelations about the little girl who was hanged all those years ago. As the movie inches toward its climax, the tone of the film waffles back and forth and can't decide if it is a comedy or a serious melodrama. One minute we're looking at some comic sight gags, the next minute we are suppose to be touched by something that Norman has discovered about the dead little girl. This leads to a very long and tiresome final act as Norman breaks into the spirit world to talk the angry witch – who glows with a fearsome yellow light – into recalling the curse. That scene is so serious and so violent (not to mention endless) that little kids may be frightened.

That's really too bad because the movie opens with promise. The animation uses stop-motion instead of full-on computer animation (which, admittedly, is getting a little tiresome). The town and the people have an angular, abstract look, almost Tim Burton-esque. They are not crisp and polished. The town of Blithe Hollow is a fascinating place to behold with buildings that jut and lean at odd angles, and trees with leafless branches that reach out like gnarled fingers.

Will kids enjoy it? Probably not the little ones. This is often a scary film that deals not only with zombies, witches, curses, and the occult, but also the dead rising from the grave, and a little dead girl who threatens to wipe the town off the map. Maybe the appropriate age would about around 8 or so. Needless to say, the PG-rating is pretty strong. It may not be a good movie no matter what age you are. You leave with the feeling that the craft of the movie is commendable, but you wish more effort had gone into the screenplay. The wonderful animation rests at the service of a movie that starts well but ultimately grows dull and joyless.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An eleven-year old boy named Norman tries to reverse a witch's curse to save his town from crumbling.

Author: HannahToucan248 from United States
18 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very surprised seeing "ParaNorman". I thought it was going to be good, but I didn't expect Laika to live up to the standard they set with "Coraline".But they definitely did.

I particularly like how humor was cleverly added throughout the movie. They even manage to make the brutal part of the movie spark laughter throughout the theater.

I also liked how the messages of the story are inspiring to people. "You don't have to be the same as everyone else to achieve greatness", "One person, no matter how small, can make a difference", and "A crowd can get swayed by anything", are some of the main messages in the end of the movie. But they still make sure you have a deep understanding of both point of views, the "good" and the "evil".

I loved this, yet I do not recommend it for young children. When I was in the theater, there was a boy about the age of four and his dad sitting behind us. They left about 20 minutes into the film. It takes too long to get to the point where the zombies are good. But my nine-year-old sister loved it and wasn't scared at all, so I think,depending on how sensitive a child is about movies, 7 and up is appropriate.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Child-friendly #horror that gains in #animation what it loses on plot.

Author: TheSquiss
26 September 2012

It turns out that sometimes my iPhone ap gets it wrong. This should have been Dredd but somebody doesn't know the difference between 7.30 and 8.30. And so it fell to Paranorman to entertain me.

So did he? Well, with some reservation, yes.

The first of the new crop of kiddie horror animations (keep an eye out for Hotel Transylvania, and Tim Burton's Frankenweenie), Paranorman is the simple story of Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) a lonely, misunderstood boy with jug ears and the ability to see dead people. His paranormal abilities (can you see what they did there…?) has earned him the disdain of his family and peers, with the exception of the fat kid, Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), who's a bigger punch bag than Norman and sees a fellow loner in Norman.

As their operatically screeching, narcissistic teacher rehearses them in the school play about the Blithe Hollow's founding fathers, Norman discovers an ancient witch's curse is about to let rip once again and raise a (small) herd of zombies from the town cemetery. And Norman is the only one taking the matter seriously.

Much, no, most of the animations is beautiful. Each character is beautifully ugly with upturned noses, bulbous ears, dented faces or, in the case of Norman's parents, bellies that almost duel with each other. Paranorman's sets are fantastic, falling somewhere between those of Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and features the best use of loo roll on film. A wonderful moment.

Paranorman boasts an impressive line up of vocal talent with Smit-McPhee (The Road) more than holding his own against the beautifully expressive Anna Kendrick (Up In the Air), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass). There are a couple of unexpected surprises in the voice acting with Bernard Hill groaning for England as the judge and John Goodman impersonating Albert Finney and having huge fun as Mr Prenderghast.

So, yes, there are many high points and there's a great deal to enjoy but it isn't quite enough. My attention wandered and that had nothing to do with the audience on this occasion, of which I constituted precisely a third, but rests entirely with writer and co-director Chris Butler. There seems little that is original in Paranorman or, at least hasn't been delivered with more panache elsewhere. There are no great moments of humour and, sitting here reviewing it the morning after, there are no real stand-out moments that spring to mind. Even the dialogue has been borrowed and rehashed in places: "I like to be alone." "So do I. Let's do it together." Name that film! More than anything, Paranorman feels stilted and never manages to be as absorbing as The Nightmare Before Christmas or even Coraline. If this is the first of many child-friendly horrors this year, I sincerely hope this is merely a slightly stale aperitif before the main course of Frankenweenie. Surely Burton can't continue his downward slide forever.

As a postscript, both to the film and my review, if you've already watched Paranorman and left before the credits, shame on you! If you haven't seen it yet, be patient. As the final name scrolls past, there is a lovely little featurette, Making Norman, that is an absolute joy and easily matches anything Pixar produces.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

ParaNorman...3 out of 4 Skittles

Author: FilmStallion from United States
6 September 2012

Laika Entertainment, the stop-motion studio behind the modern classics Corpse Bride and Coraline, are back with their latest spooky tale, ParaNorman. Like its predecessors, ParaNorman is a beautiful claymation wonder. Every single frame is filled with such a vast amount of detail it would take several repeat views to catch all the hidden gems.

ParaNorman is also filled with humor. The talented voice actors that bring the clay characters to life provide most of the laughs. From Anna Kendrick's (Up In The Air, 50/50) ditzy cheerleader, to Casey Affleck's (Gone Baby Gone, Ocean's Eleven) dumb jock, to Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick-Ass) getting to play against his 'McLovin' typecast as the angry school bully. But the biggest laughs by far are dished out by child actor Tucker Albrizzi who is perfectly cast as the voice of Norman's chubby best friend, Neil.

ParaNorman is a visual and comedic force. Despite the tedious and demanding workload and easier computer rendering technology, Laika Entertainment continues the tradition of making stop-motion movies the hard way. With films as stunning as ParaNorman hopefully the technique will live on forever.

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