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Reviews & Ratings for
ParaNorman More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
7 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I suppose this just isn't my kind of movie. I didn't care for Coraline either. While the animation is really good, as we have come to expect nowadays, and the voice-acting is first-rate, I just got really tired of watching ghosts chasing the boy during most of the middle of the movie.

I suppose my best synopsis is "tedious." It lasts for about 90 minutes but I found myself thinking it would have made a really good 30-minute movie.

I suppose my other issue is that ghost stories with children being able to see ghosts has become tiresome to me.

A free DVD loan from my public library.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

uneven but bags of fun!

Author: Sean Buckley from Manchester
8 October 2012

Paranorman tells the tale of Norman, who is afflicted with the strange 'power' of being able to see and talk to the dead. His local town is one full of legends and curses and with the help of a few semi-friends Norman is the only who can save it from a (not so) wicked witch.

Paranorman isn't quite a kiddie film. Sure, kids will enjoy the animation and a few of the more obvious physical jokes but the subject matter and tone of the film is a little too grown up. Lacking in Pixars fun and joviality Paranorman skirts off piste much like its well meaning but odd central character. Some kids wont get of the more subtle jokes or references (itchy weiners and the music) and i still find it strange that they made a kids film about zombies!

I had the same feeling watching Monster House a couple of years back. Much like Paranorman, Monster House is bags of fun and its message is one that i really appreciate but i felt that it didn't need to be as grimmly told.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The animation is utterly gorgeous, but I do think the script could have been a bit better

Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
26 August 2012

This horror-themed stop-motion flick is in the tradition of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, though it wasn't directed by Henry Selick (it is from the same studio as Coraline and The Corpse Bride, Laika). It reminded me a lot of last year's Rango in that I liked it a lot, and really fell in love with its world, but I thought there was something lacking in the script. The animation is truly gorgeous, at least every bit as good as Coraline. The characters are beautifully designed and realized - even the writing behind them is quite good. The script as a whole, though... First off, much like Rango, this is primarily a comedy film, but the gags pretty much universally fall flat. The drama of the film, which involves the constantly bullied Norman using the gifts that make him abnormal to save the day, is a welcome theme, but it often comes off as heavy-handed. My favorite character was Norman's shallow teenage sister. She's well performed by Anna Kendrick, but it's the animation and design that really brought her to life (especially love the lip gloss - the detail in this film is really amazing). I'd still highly recommend this and rate it highly, even though I was a tad disappointed (of course I was expecting the second coming of Coraline - I guess I'll have to get my expectations stepped on again in a month or so when Frankenweenie is released!).

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A frightful blend of humorless, grotesque characters propelled by a derivative zombie horror plot

Author: Turfseer from United States
30 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Paranorman, the new stop action animated horror comedy, comes from the creators of Coraline, the 1999 Alice in Wonderland-like stop action animated feature, which garnered fairly good reviews. I faulted Coraline for its lack of originality and characters that didn't have enough charm. I'm sad to report that Paranorman represents a big step backward for the creators of Coraline, as it's much more derivative than its precursor and manages to exude significantly less charm.

The film starts off nicely as we slowly pan through the town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts, which reminds one of a working-class section of Boston or any of those eastern or central Massachusetts towns that happen to feature rows of houses built in the 20s and 30s. We meet the film's protagonist, Norman Babcock, a boy with psychic powers who can communicate with his deceased grandmother inside the house as well as numerous ghosts out on the street. Norman is one of those 'misunderstood' kids who's ridiculed at school as a freak and forms a friendship with another outcast at school, Neil, an overweight kid, who is also constantly bullied.

In 'Coraline', most of the characters were eccentric but in 'Paranorman', except mainly for Norman and Neil, all the other characters, who are supposed to be funny, are actually either grotesque, mean-spirited or ignorant (some all of the above). The film's animators chose to highlight all the characters' negative attributes by exaggerating their physical deficiencies. For example, Norman's father, Perry, has an enormously protruding pot belly. He's also entirely unsympathetic as he considers his son's interest in psychic phenomena, an embarrassment to the family as well as the community at large. The Paranorman scenarists also fail to get any laughs from Norman's sister Courtney, who proves to be a caricature of a narcissistic teenager who's desperate to find a boyfriend. At the end of picture, we're supposed to laugh when she's rejected by Neil's older flat-topped, super-buffed Ron Howard looking brother, Mitch, who turns out to be gay.

Today it seems whenever we have a story about a young outcast, he'll always be pitted against a school bully. In this case it's Alvin, who sports a pig-like face and bears a faint resemblance to Bruce Willis. The obnoxious Alvin attempts to torment sensitive Norman until he realizes that everything his opponent is saying about a witch's curse that may destroy the town, comes true. Mrs. Henscher, the schoolteacher, is fairly amusing when she attempts to convince her school kids to emote better while they're performing a play about the 300th anniversary of the town, but later turns ugly (sporting a mud cake facial), joining a mob full of vengeful townspeople, who riot when faced with a group of hapless Zombies. There's also Sheriff Hooper, the overzealous police officer who thinks of shooting first and asking questions later (as the only African-American, some folks may find this character overly stereotypical).

Saving the worst character for last is Norman's deranged uncle, Mr. Prenderghast, who lives on the edge of town and resembles the town drunk--an individual who everyone in the town tries to avoid. Before Prenderghast has a heart attack and dies, he explains that the town is cursed by a little girl who was hung as a witch and took revenge on the seven Puritan townspeople from 300 years ago, who sentenced her to death. In an awfully tasteless scene, after Prenderghast kicks the bucket, rigor mortis sets in and the lifeless, stiff body falls on little Norman--who must extricate himself, not before being licked by the corpse's loose and gross, saliva-filled tongue.

In addition to all the unlikeable and charmless characters, there's also the amazingly derivative story line. Without the so-called comedy, 'Paranorman' would just be your average Zombie movie. The twist is that Paranorman cops out by becoming completely sentimental. The Zombies were not originally a hate-filled mob who sentenced poor little Agatha to death--they were merely 'afraid'. And now Norman points out, the mob full of Blithe Hollow denizens, have becomes just as bad as their cowering ancestors.

Norman ends up by making everything right by engaging in a 'heart-to-heart' with the now demented and vengeful little Agatha. Once Norman gets through to Agatha, the souls of the seven Zombies, finally make it to their eternal resting spots (along with of course, little Agatha) and Norman's family and the rest of the town, learn an important lesson about being tolerant of kids with extra sensory abilities as well as Zombies who were not actually hate-crazed bigots, but merely innocently caught up in the mass hysteria of their times.

Now all that's left is to figure out how this hopeless production became a hit. Well, of course there are all those kids into zombie movies; but what about the critics? Sadly, many of the critics have the sensibilities of all those kids who bought the tickets. Alas, little Agatha is no more. If only Norman could have directed her to have those knuckleheads (aka 'the critics') give 'Paranorman', the rating it deserved. It looks like Metacritic's completely misguided '72', will remain Paranorman's ultimate final composite rating, for all eternity!

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21 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Laika,stop-motion's Pixar

Author: lestedu29800 from France
30 August 2012

Why is Laika, the studio that has made Coraline and now ParaNorman, "Stop-motion's Pixar" ? Because after Coraline's perfect trip through fear and loneliness, it is time for Norman to impress us all !

Just like in Coraline, the stop-motion animation is gorgeous and dazzling. The characters are all beautifully animated and everything feels alive, unlike CGI movies that sometimes may look cold (I'm especially thinking about Dreamworks movies).

The story of ParaNorman seemed a bit like a great-fun tribute to cheesy B-movies with funny characters. Well, it is by far better than this. The characters are deeper than I expected. And the last 30 minutes are incredibly surprising, thanks to a well-made twist unrevealed in trailers (which is really unusual nowadays) that leads to a fantastic, poetic and even sad climax. I'd say the final fight is the best of the year, by far.

To sum up, ParaNorman is a poetic, sometimes frightening and funny animation movie that everybody has to watch. It is at least as good as Pixar's best films, and I'm already waiting for the day ParaNorman will win an Oscar.

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A delightful animated film with horror elements

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
8 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Norman Babcock is a slightly strange child… he can see and converse with the dead! Nobody believes him of course and he is picked on in school. The only person who wants to be his friend is Neil, a chubby buy who is also picked on. Norman lives in the town of Blythe Hollow; a town with a dark past… in colonial times a girl with a similar gift to Normans was hanged for witchcraft. Before she died she cursed her persecutors to a horrible death. Norman's estranged uncle tells him that it is up to him to protect the town from the continuing effects of the curse. He doesn't have long to discover what must be done and as the witch's original victims rise from their graves he finds himself working with Neil, the school bully, his sister and the bully's sporty brother who his sister has a crush on.

This stop-go animation from the people behind 'Coroline' is a lot of fun. It plays with horror tropes in a delightful way without being too scary for most children. The opening scene where Norman watches a horror film with the ghost of his late grandmother sets a tone for the level of scariness at least until the final confrontation with the witch, this is a little scarier but not excessively so. The ending is ultimately happy so younger viewers are less likely to be left feeling nervous than they might have been if the witch had been vanquished. The animation looks really good and the voice cast do a fine job bringing their characters to life. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to animation fans looking for something a little different and even to horror fans… it certainly won't scare the latter group but the way it plays with the genre is great fun.

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Author: jeungsun
23 April 2017

The first time I watched this film was in 2015 when I was baby-sitting my neighbours 3 sons who were all below the age of 13 years. We were watching it late at night and the film itself had some scary scenes and even the zombies were scary. To be honest it wasn't too far off the style of Scooby Too, but it was a little more realistic. What made it more realistic was the animation. The animations were fantastic and made the theme of the movie more engaging. The paranormal theme is somewhat unknown to the vast majority of human beings, that is also part of the reason why the film is scary. However, I loved how moving the story-line. The cast was voiced really nicely and Norman was given a bashful, brave, cute and hyper-sensitive awareness of others (hence his ability to see ghosts/spirits, paranormal activity). I love the story-line itself and how the whole issues was based on real history. It was cool of the writer to explore a broader social issue. It was somewhat an education for watchers. It moved me to the point of tears. Essentially, the original soundtrack was beautifully moving and fun, the characters were casted well, funny scenes, fabulous craftsmanship in the animations and great story!

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The Whole Town Hates This Boy—Find Out Why

Author: Lenna from Colorado
5 April 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"There's nothing wrong with being scared, Norman, so long as you don't let it change who you are." Going into the stop-motion animated family film Paranorman, I didn't expect the movie to have such a strong, relatable message. At most I assumed it would be two things: juvenile and entirely light-hearted. However, I was pleasantly surprised as I was swept up into the humorous adventure lead by young Norman and the kids that got caught up with him. The characterization in Paranorman is excellent—the characters each have unique personalities, and the combination of their personalities is perfect for not only comedy, but also interesting relationships and a journey you can't help but enjoy. The striking animation of Paranorman adds even more personality to the film. It was animated by stop-motion, using full-color 3D printers to create a wide variety of facial expressions for the characters. The quirky animation is very detailed, down to the glossy, viscous saliva on the tongue of a decaying corpse. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam fell, known for hit animated films Coraline and Flushed Away respectively, Paranorman has characters voiced by stars such as Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and John Goodman. Overall, Paranorman is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an eccentric film with congenial characters and striking animation. I loved this movie from start to finish, and I give it ten out of ten stars!

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Dark, creepy fun

Author: JLRVancouver from Canada
19 February 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much darker and more story-driven than most contemporary 'children's' animated films, ParaNorman is a well-written and well-crafted film. Norman can see dead people, of which there seem to be many, and thus ends up having to save the town from zombies, or (spoiler alert), as it turns out,…vice-versa. While not new to this film, the 'monsters as victims' is a refreshing spin and provides the filmmakers with a lot of comic potential, as does the transformation the frightened townies into a demented mob. The voice talent is very good and gives the animated characters, despite being imaged in extreme ways, real humanity. One of the directors (Chris Butler) worked on Coraline, which I found extremely creepy and remains one of my favourite animated films. I'm surprised that at the relatively low IMDb score as the movie, which was well received by the critics, is clever, fun and well executed.

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Author: Kirpianuscus from Romania
26 December 2016

about the family and solitude and strange friendship and a special gift. all using stop motion for an interesting manner to become hero of the community. ParaNorman has the virtue to be more than a film for children or for adults. it reminds small things in the right manner, with humor and precision, in inspired manner to give realism to a story who mix magic, ordinary life and zombies. ParaNorman is special. for a character who preserves its identity in delicate way. for the nuances who impose a lovely story about the small, insignificant boy, far by society rules/expectations, who becomes the savior of the town. all in creepy/ironic humour, more than nice.

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