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A different kind of animated movie and approach. I really liked it!
Boba_Fett113827 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This was a rather surprising movie. It's unlike any other modern animated movie and picks a new sort of approach, that should work entertaining for both adults and kids. There is plenty of 'simple' stuff to enjoy for young kids in this movie but also the adults shall have no complaints about it. Throughout the years animated movies often had both stuff for both kids and adults to enjoy in this movie but I feel that the line dividing the two different forms of entertainment is getting more and more blurry. Instead the two things more often get effectively combined, with as a result more and more movies get released that aren't being too childish for adults or too mature for little kids. It's being perfect entertainment for just about everybody! I do admit though that I was a bit surprised to see how horror orientated this movie was. Make no mistake about it, this is a horror movie. It might be a bit frightening for some children but obviously most shall be perfectly capable of handling it. Fantasy and movies can be a great outlet and also stimulant for children's imagination, this also includes horror orientated stuff. After all, most kids are of course perfectly capable of making a distinction between real stuff and fantasy. And I do applaud this movie for not being overly fluffy or careful and protective toward children. Not that that this is being a completely dark, or scary, depressing movie to watch but overall it's being a tad bit more dark and daring than just an average animated movie. It's really having a style and approach of its own, which just doesn't goes for its story or the fact that this is being a more genuine horror flick but also really for its comedy and characters. The characters all feel rich and very much alive (yes, even the dead characters!) and the humor is more clever and often dialog orientated, as opposed to having characters jumping around and falling and bumping into stuff. In that regard this movie also feels far more mature than just the average genre attempt. And another important aspect about an animated movie; it's a really good looking one! It's using stop-motion techniques and it shows that this genre is far from outdated or dead. It's really something that gives the movie an unique look and feel. I don't know, it's perhaps pleasant that it's being something that allows the movie to feel 'fake' and true exaggerated fantasy-like, as opposed to CG animated movies, that are getting more and more smooth and realistic to watch. It's also a movie with a great underlying message in it, that tells you it's OK to be different and there is nothing weird or wrong about it and you shouldn't just judge a book on its cover. It's still too bad this message was lost on some people and I'm talking about those who had a problem with its ending. It was perfectly suitable and fitted perfectly into what this entire movie was trying to tell you for the first hour and a half. A surprisingly good movie in about every regard, that above all things is being perfectly fun and entertaining to watch! 8/10
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Easily One of the Best Movies I've Seen This Year
IllusionOfLife19 August 2012
I came into ParaNorman with a sense of cautious optimism. I absolutely adore stop motion animation, and I genuinely fell in love with Coraline, LAIKA's previous effort, but the trailers for the film didn't capture my interest in the story in the way I hoped they would and this film also didn't have the benefit of being helmed by the brilliant Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Coraline). That being said, I am extremely happy to report that ParaNorman absolutely delivers on every level you could hope for.

ParaNorman tells a story about a young boy named Norman who has the unusual ability to see and talk to the dead, an ability which has led him to be ostracized by the other members of his community, including his own family. The New England town in which he lives is famous for a historic witch execution, along with the legend of a curse that the witch put upon those who sentenced her to death. It turns out that the legend of the curse is true, and that Norman, with his ability to talk to the dead, is the only one who can prevent the curse from raising the dead. Unfortunately, Norman is unable to act fast enough and the Witch's curse begins to wreak havoc on the town.

ParaNorman is a film with many strengths. Stop motion animation is always a beautiful and fascinating process, and with new technological advances the filmmakers have been able to bring it to a level of detail and expression that are simply astounding. While the scope of the story may be smaller than something like Coraline or Nightmare Before Christmas, the scale of the stop motion sets for this town are truly incredible. The film absolutely immerses you in this world that feels like a living, breathing, place. As beautiful as the animation in Brave was, ParaNorman is easily the most visually impressive film I have seen this year.

As beautiful as the film is, it never falls into the trap of so many other animated films by simply being visual spectacle with no narrative soul. The story of the film is fun, intelligent, and heartfelt, and is supported by a great cast of characters. The odd kid who is misunderstood is a common trope in kids' movies, but what makes Norman stand out is that he's never mopey about it. He is ostracized, bullied, and rejected, but he's come to a kind of acceptance about the whole thing. He's certainly not happy about it, but at this point he's not trying to fit in, he's really just trying to keep his head down and get through the daily grind. This is part of what makes his relationship with the other characters in the film work so well. For instance Neil genuinely accepts Norman for who he is and it's obvious that this throws Norman for a loop and he doesn't really know how to interact with someone who "gets him." This is never spoken, but it plays out naturally through the performances of the characters.

As the narrative progresses it takes some really interesting turns, and at times is genuinely surprising and emotional. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that a large part of the narrative revolves around assumptions and misunderstanding, and it brilliantly uses the audience's assumptions and expectations about the genre and its conventions against them.

It's also worth mentioning that this is one of the rare films which decidedly benefits from the addition of 3D. There's some fun play with perspective, and being able to see the dimension that exists in these sets adds a lot to the experience.

I genuinely loved ParaNorman and it's easily one of my favorite films this year. It's not a movie for everyone, but if any of the trailers gave you even a glimmer of interest I would definitely recommend checking this one out. LAIKA is certainly beginning to make a name for themselves in the animation scene and I'm really looking forward to whatever their next project will be. I think I still prefer Coraline which definitely benefited from the combination of Neil Gaiman's fantastic story and Henry Selick's experienced hand, but ParaNorman is a truly fantastic film and it's definitely worth a look.

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A lot of fun, but probably not for the young ones
The thing of it is, ParaNorman is pretty scary stuff for a PG movie, so you've been properly warned. This isn't some over-sanitized Disney movie. Everything from the lighting to the characters to the tense plot adds up to something you wouldn't want your six-year-old to drag you to, unless you don't mind paying for some therapy. But it's a terrific movie, with a style all its own and a madcap sense of ghoulish delight.

Norman (voice of Kodi Smith-McPhee) is an outcast. Know why? He talks to dead people. And indeed, we see them as well, chatting with our hero along his walk to school. Oh, and his grandmother (voice of Elaine Stritch) talks to him all the time while sitting on the couch in the living room. No one understands poor Norman, who's as resignedly freaked out as Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense, so he has no one to talk to, not his parents (Jeff Garlin and Leslie Mann), not his sister (Anna Kendrick), and not the school bully (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) for sure.

It's only when Norman has an episode during the production of a school play (not coincidentally, about an old legend surrounding the town's dark past) that he gains a friend - another outcast, the portly Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), who teaches Norman that it's best not to let people bother you, to not let them get under your skin. Had the story ended there, we may have had a nice, tidy after-school special. Oh, but it does not! From out of almost nowhere, Norman's black-sheep uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman), a heavily bearded, slightly loony chap, informs Norman that he - Norman! - must take the mantle of He Who Holds Off the Witch's Curse. Mr. P. has been doing it for all these years, but he thinks he's about to go. He warns Norman that it's all up to him and he must read from the book and then he dies. That was an intentional run-on sentence, for your pleasure.

Thereby our plot is set in motion! Norman must extricate said book from the dead uncle and then read it by the witch's grave in order to break the curse that no one really believes is real. They don't believe it on account of Mr. Dead Uncle has been reading from the book for his entire life, and someone before him, and so on. But now Dead Uncle is, you know, demised, and just before the witch is to rise from the ashes and wreak havoc! Oh, I should note that the curse goes like this - a little girl was suspected of witchcraft by the town elders and sentenced to death. So you can see why she might want to haunt those elders and the town itself for all eternity.

There are people raised from the dead, and the imagery is quite striking; bones, stringy hair, rent clothing, and the ability to remove an appendage and reattach it. Are these - uh - zombies - out to lay waste to the town? Or are they victims of their own device? It's up to Norman, his brain, and his innate ability to talk to dead people to somehow save the day. Despite being grounded, of course.

ParaNorman works on many levels. Adults will love the stylish, almost Gothic atmosphere; older teens will love the menace of both the zombies and the townspeople, not to mention the witch herself. There are, for an animated film, plenty of scares and dark themes - slightly offset by the themes of loneliness, friendship, heroism, and getting adults to just listen to you. For once! Ahem. Anyway, there's a sort of beauty in ParaNorman, as horror and light comedy are somehow blended to form a rich animated film.
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Another Animated Hit From The Makers Of Coraline!
dmhughes-448-69510215 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Focus Features has only had two animated films up to this point; the beautifully crafted, but story-lacking 9, and of course the gorgeous and creepy Coraline. Now, this studio's third animated film gives us both a funny and creepy story about a town under siege by zombies and an ancient witch's curse. It's one of the best movies of the late summer, and should easily compete for at the Academy Awards for Best Animated Film.

The film in itself is split into two sections. The first shows Norman, an out-of-place kid in a small New England town who has the ability to talk to ghosts. Since he has no real friends, he doesn't mind the undead. He's picked on at school for being different, and we see that whenever another person, like the geek Neil, wants to be friends with him, he tries to push them away. Norman's older sister, and Neil's older brother are the stereotypical cheerleader and football jock, and they torment Norman as well. And then we have the school bully; every film seems to have them these days.

The second part of the film sees Norman become an unlikely hero after a witch's curse raises the dead back to life and all chaos breaks loose. There are some creepy moments, but the characters are always cracking off one-liners according to the situation, so it kept the film funny as well as adrenaline pumping. The only thing I didn't like about the story was the climax. It's not that I didn't like it, it's just that it felt sort of phoned in. Overall, the voice acting is great, the animation is superb as always, and the 3D remarkably works well. I was expecting a great movie, and I got it with this film. It may be a little too scary for kids under the age of 10, but everyone else should have a blast. I hope this film does well, and I can't wait to see what Focus Feature's next big animated project will be.

Final Verdict: 9/10
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Remarkably Endearing
Mek Torres8 September 2012
ParaNorman looks like a throwback to the good old campy stop-motion animated films. The concept may not sound so original, but the designs and the themes of the story are the main appeal here. The movie is fun and wonderful to look at. While it goes through a crazy adventure comedy, there is a surprising twist that made this so endearing. It is something that we don't usually see in an animated film, but because of that we intend to love it. ParaNorman is funny, creepy, smart, and affecting.

ParaNorman is oddly different as an animated family film. Unlike the others, this one has a dark and mature context, but by sentimental means. Although the story is about spirits and zombies, the true core of this film is the emotion and the message that it is trying to show us. There's a couple of moments that are quite affecting. Usually is when Norman is being alone in his gloomy life. In other parts, the film is ought to be funny. The comedy sometimes feel way apart from the drama, but they still work anyway.

The stop-motion animation indeed looks marvelous. These little figures really brought themselves to life as their voice actors provide their personalities. The campiest part, the zombies, are quite impressive to look at. It's undeniably solid. The music score sure knows which part is suppose to be gloomy, campy, or just ordinary. It's a great effect to the scenes and you'll love it. The rest of the movie is all ridiculous and fun little set pieces that are entertaining enough to enjoy.

ParaNorman is surprisingly strong. The depth of the story made this movie so special. It's still filled with comedy and lightheartedness. In the end, it turns out to be endearing. It's a rare kind of family film that is brave to show what it wanted to show. It might be hard for some to understand its sentiment, but if there's anything else why anyone would like this film then it's because of its majestic animation. ParaNorman is simply great and it's easy enough to recommend.
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Packed with wit, imagination and thoughtfulness, this lovingly rendered stop-motion animation is one of the best of the year
moviexclusive26 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A word of caution for parents with younger tots – 'Paranorman' might not go down too well for the faint of heart. But its deliberately mature- skewing approach is also the reason why this is one of the most unique animated movies we've seen this year, the latest feat of stop-motion animation from the same Laika studio artists who had conjured up the similarly bewitching 'Coraline'. Both have at their heart titular characters who are outcasts in their social circle. For Norman, his ability to see ghosts have made him a pariah among his schoolmates – and the worst of the lot is a pea-brained nose-picking bully named Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Home is not much better. His dad (Jeff Garlin) is none too pleased he claims to be speaking to his dead grandmother, his mother (Leslie Mann) dismisses it as a phase, and his bimbotic teenage sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) just can't be bothered. The film's writer is Chris Butler - a storyboard artist who honed his skills on Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride' and Henry Selick's 'Coraline' - and his experience with the contemporaries in quirky animation has served him well in creating a lovable adolescent misfit in Norman. Before Norman is even confronted with the challenge you know will turn him into the unlikely hero, you've already fallen in love with this sweet unassuming kid with the rectangular quizzical eyebrows and a head of vertical brown hair. Instead of sugar-coating the reality of Norman's social life, Butler states the truth as it is – 'You can't stop bullying – it's part of human nature," says Norman's chubby buddy Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), similarly ostracised in school on account of his size. The honesty is refreshing, and so is the plot that follows, involving a 300-year old witch's curse that invokes half-dozen zombies to rise from their graves and terrorise the local townsfolk of Blithe's Hollow. A twist late into the tale on the witch's identity makes this an unexpectedly moving and thoughtful parable on acceptance and empathy, two morals which tie in beautifully with Norman's own story of rejection. Along the way to the surprisingly intense finale, Butler and his co-director Sam Fell inject a veritable sense of fun into the proceedings which unfold like a roller-coaster ride into a haunted house of terrors, made all the more enjoyable by Norman's motley crew comprising of Alvin, Courtney, Neil and Neil's jockish older brother Mitch (Casey Affleck). While distracting the younger ones with a cornucopia of visual gags, Butler packs bits of surprises for the adults in the audience. You'll chuckle along with the bits of deadpan humour – "Do you think they'll eat our brains?" Alvin screams in fear. "Yeah, you'll be safe," Norman replies – as well as the 'blink and you'll miss' tributes to horror classics from 'Halloween' to 'Friday the 13th'. These will be lost on the kids, but what parents should really take time to explain is Butler's message of embracing those who are different from us, a lesson all too precious in today's increasingly xenophobic world. The same attention to story and character has also gone into the lovingly-detailed animation – while at first sight cruder looking than today's more commonly seen computer-generated visuals, the distinctive stop-motion rendering is nothing short of gorgeous, and one truly marvels at the amount of effort that has gone into the individual action-oriented sequences that have so much going on at the same time. The technique has also allowed the animators to sculpt finer detail into each of the characters, which come to life in a certain pop-up fashion that fits perfectly in 3D. Using the traditional narrative of a misfit turned unlikely hero, 'Paranorman' weaves a fantastically dazzling, consistently engaging and surprisingly touching story that qualifies it as one of the most original and certainly one of the best animated movies of the year. Yes, it isn't as family-friendly as something you might expect from the usual Disney or Dreamworks fare, but you'll appreciate the level of maturity and wit that has gone into this impressive stop-motion animation.
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Excellent Animated Movie with Depth
wmdm20243 September 2012
Without spending too much time discussing the plot, this movie is essentially a film about a misfit kid who ultimately must save the town that has misunderstood and mistreated him for most of his life. Yes, Norman sees dead people. However, everyone is aware of Norman's claim of this power and they either ridicule him (other kids) or are ashamed of his seemingly wild claim and erratic behaviour. Of course Norman's extra-sensory powers will soon be required to rid the town of a curse. The resulting events make for a great story and film.

There are several themes in this film that were well developed and ultimately resolved to my satisfaction. The animation is incredible, and I loved the creative camera shots that the director(s) chose in many scenes: much more advanced than the usual animated film.

I took 2 children to see this movie, a 6-year old girl and a (near) 4 boy. The kids loved the comedic zombie scenes in particular and were laughing out loud for much of it. They were frightened in other parts but in a functional thematic way, not to the point of nightmares. However I did note that some of the deeper themes went right over the kids' heads, and while they weren't too bothered by this fact, I advise that children over 8 might enjoy the film more fully.

The climax of the film is beautifully animated, and very poignant. On the whole a great film. I would state only that the humour surrounding the zombies was hilarious for adults and children alike, and I would have included more of it. Certainly this film is worth the admission. I saw it in 3D, it wasn't mind-blowing 3D but it certainly gave the film more texture.
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Pleasant Surprise
MSMorno28 August 2012
Yes, like most "kids" movies, it had it's corny, funny, sometimes just plain silly parts, but... Paranorman left me pleasantly surprised. First and foremost, if you didn't like this movie because you compared it to Caroline, that's your problem. This movie stands well on its own and it's completely unfair to make comparisons. By the time the movie had finished, the beauty of it shone through and, without hesitation, I would say it stands up very well against "blockbuster" films designed for mature audiences. It's neither vulgar or obscene, but there are a few parts in the movie that will go straight over the youngster's heads but you will most certainly get it if you're over the age of thirty and haven't been living in a cave. If you take your kid(s) to see this, be ready; there are a few intense scenes that might have them a little frightened. Regarding the poor guy who didn't want to see the Expendables 2, I didn't see it, either, but I sure heard it. They poorly placed this movie the very next theater over from it.
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Enter the wonderful strange and creepy world of ParaNorman
rgblakey2 September 2012
There have been numerous stop motion animation films but only a handful have really stepped up to deliver something special. Coraline was one of those films that delivered unique characters along with a beautifully strange world like no other. Their latest ParaNorman looks to continue this tradition but turning to the ever popular world of zombies and horror. Can it deliver another new unique vision in this style or will it just end up being another generic animated film?

ParaNorman follows a misunderstood boy who is able to speak to the dead. When the town is over thrown by zombies, a witches curse, and an angry mob it's up to him to push his abilities to the limit to save them all. This film not only delivers something new and different with an almost played out genre, it manages to stand out and entertain on numerous levels. Featuring an all-star voice cast of Casey Affleck, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tempestt Bledsoe, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse who step into their roles and bring these fun characters to creepy life. While this seems to be an animated kid's film, this was clearly made with all ages in mind. There are moments that some would deem not so kid friendly, but still manages to maintain its place among an almost all ages film. The animation is awesome with some strange character and set design that only adds to the originality and fun of this film. This film is formatted like an actual zombie film, but then takes some twists and turns to take it someplace new. The story is dark and fun all at once and will easily keep both adults and kids entertained. There are some classic monster movie moments that adults will appreciate as well as some subject matter that is a bit glossed over, but clearly takes a momentary step out of the family film.

This is easily not only one of the best stop-motion films to come along in some time; it's one of the best animated films. ParaNorman delivers in every way filled with comedy, horror, and action all wrapped up in a strange twisted visual tale that you will not soon forget.
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A Zombie Movie for Kids? Well, Maybe....
Chris_Pandolfi17 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Nine times out of ten, debating a film's appropriateness for children is utterly pointless. But in the case of "ParaNorman," a 3D stop-motion animated film about ghosts, zombies, and a witch's curse, I cannot help but wonder what age group the filmmakers had in mind. With its morbid imagery, its broad and occasionally twisted sense of humor, and its handling of dark issues such as bullying, death, and the execution of suspected witches, I'm forced to conclude that it may not be appropriate for anyone under the age of twelve. You, of course, know your children much better than I do. All I'm asking is that you keep what I'm saying in mind as you buy tickets – especially if you decide to shell out the extra cash for a 3D presentation. I should also note that this is the first PG-rated animated film I know of to include a gay joke. If you don't have any children and frankly couldn't care less about the issue of how young is too young, you may find that "ParaNorman" is wonderful-looking, appropriately scary, and a great deal of fun. For someone like me, it represents a purer kind of horror movie, in which the purpose is to frighten and entertain without resorting to tacky marketing gimmicks like sex, nudity, and relentless gore. It's also not limited to craft, although that certainly does play a major role; a real story is being told, and it actually sends a message. I grant you that it's not a particularly original message, but it's good to hear nonetheless. Specific scenes are lovingly styled after schlocky B- movies, while others feature clever insider references. Any dedicated horror fan will be the first to tell you that the ringtone on the title character's cell phone is John Carpenter's "Halloween Theme." Taking place in the New England town of Blithe Hollow, where a notorious history of witch trials are now used to attract tourists, we meet eleven-year-old Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), a zombie movie fanatic cursed with the ability to speak with the dead. He's surrounded by ghosts, all of which are only visible to him. Because he always appears to be talking to himself, he's an outcast in his community. At home, he's berated by his shallow teenage sister (voiced by Anna Kendrick), patronized by his liberal mother (voiced by Leslie Mann), and completely misunderstood by his overly stern father (voiced by Jeff Garlin), who clearly doesn't believe in ghosts. He has had it up to here with Norman making requests for his grandmother, who has already died. This is true, but her spirit still lives in the house, and she and Norman have regular conversations. Despite being dead, the grandmother (voiced by Elaine Stritch) made a promise that she would always watch over Norman, which is why she hasn't crossed to the other side. At school, Norman is already an easy target for a bully named Alvin (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a brute and an idiot. Things only get worse when he begins having visions, which invade his reality like rips in the fabric of time. His only friend is Neil (voiced by Tucker Albrizzi), an innocent and portly boy who takes his daily bullying in stride and thinks Norman's ability is the coolest thing ever. One day, they're both approached by the other black sheep of Norman's family: His uncle Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman), a hulking bum who lives holed up in a dilapidated house in the woods. He soon drops dead, although his spirit visits Norman in the boys' restroom and explains that his visions are related to a curse put on Blithe Hollow by a witch centuries earlier. This curse will take effect as soon as the sun goes down; the only way it can be stopped is if passages from an old book are read aloud at the witch's gravesite. Norman's sixth sense makes him the only person qualified to do this. Inevitably, something goes wrong, and in due time, seven corpses are awakened from their cemetery slumber. As they lumber around town as groaning, rotted zombies, Norman, Neil, and Alvin team up with Norman's sister and the object of her affection, Neil's teenage brother Mitch (voiced by Casey Affleck), a dimwitted jock. Blithe Hollow's hall of records is the scene of the finale, where an angry mob gathers on the steps with pitchforks and torches. The zombies, meanwhile, are inside and slowly closing in on Norman, who's close to figuring out the meaning behind the witch's curse. What it really comes down to is intolerance, ignorance, and the inability to listen to one another in times of fear and confusion. True enough, these themes are far from original, but they certainly add depth and even some sweetness to an otherwise superficial tale of the macabre. For the most part, the film is in the spirit of fun, walking the fine line between more mature thrills and family entertainment. There are select scenes, however, that push the limits of where a PG-rated movie can and should be allowed to go. The most glaring example is when Norman must pry a book from the lifeless hands of his uncle Prenderghast; as he struggles to free the book, the body is flung around like a ragdoll, and eventually, it falls on top of Norman, causing a huge length of tongue to roll out of the head and slap Norman in the face. Had this been a live action film, this scene would have been disgusting and perhaps even offensive. I believe that many kids will greatly enjoy "ParaNorman," but I also believe that some of them will find it frightening. Exercise caution when taking them to the movies this weekend. -- Chris Pandolfi
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Wow that was good!
ultramatt2000-119 August 2012
I love it. It answers the question, what happens when you put THE BREAKFAST CLUB, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and EVIL DEAD in a blender. You get this awesome movie from the makers of CORALINE. In a world dominated by CGI movies, this one is a breath of fresh air (the same applies to the upcoming film FRANKENWEENIE by Tim Burton). We have people with different personalities: the weirdo, the show-off bully, the cheerleader, the not-so-bright jock and the silly geek. Just like THE BREAKFAST CLUB, but they have to get along in order to survive, just like in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Also, a book is involved in it. A book just like in EVIL DEAD. There is a lot of thrills, chills (lots of them), and laughs (splattered (excuse the pun) here and there). Family appropriate? Of course! What do you think? A kid would be caught dead with an R-rated zombie film with over the top gore. It does a great job spoofing the genre. Give it a watch, I recommend it, it might prepare your kids into watching classic horror films (of course you know, viewer discretion is advised). Bottom line: It's good, give it a watch! Rated PG for scary images and some adult references, that might go over the heads of children under 13.
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Really enjoyable
Firas Haidar2 February 2013

The makers of Coraline and the beautifully crafted but story-lacking 9 brought us another animated movie that did not disappoint. Paranorman was in fact a surprising movie. Unlike any other animated movie, this one picks a new sort of approach, that would probably entertain both adults and children.

The film was shot using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR Camera. To generate the 3D effect, the camera was mounted on a special rig that would take one shot, then slide to a slightly viewpoint to take another shot. However, to generate all the different faces needed for the characters, the film company Laika used 3D printers.

The movie takes place in the creepy town of Blithe Hollow, whose name is a mash up of two other ghost stories, Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit(1945) and Washington Irving's The Legend of The Sleepy Hollow(1949). Paranorman tells the story of 11 years-old Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit- McPhee), who can speak to ghosts. Unfortunately, Norman has no friends because people think he's weird. Even his father (voiced by Jeff Garlin) regrets how his son turned out to be. The movie is a little too horror oriented, but funny and suitable for children nonetheless.

The characters are well drawn, so you can understand each of their personalities: you have the nice fat kid called Neil (voiced by Tucker Albrizzi), the usual blonde teen (voiced by Anna Kendrick), the bully (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and the dumb jock (voiced by Casey Affleck). To be honest, my favorite was Neil.

To end with, Paranorman weaves a fantastically dazzling, consistently engaging and touching story. I really appreciated the level of maturity that has gone into this impressive stop-motion animation. A good movie in about every regard, that is fun and entertaining to watch, for both children and adults.
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I found it wonderful w/ tons of humor
graveyardfairytales19 August 2012
The movie gets a ten form me. Considering I love these kind of films. I know a lot of folks feel this movie might not be geared towards children under 9. I'm far from a prune, but I would not take a five year old but.............. then again, I've watch children and they are much smarter than we give them credit for. so point? Judge for yourself. There were kids in the theater that appear to be about five-ish or seven- ish and they knew when to laugh and really enjoyed themselves. So again if it just you you will love it. If you have kids under nine It would have to be on you to decide. but I hardly think this movie will turn your kid in to a thug, or the devil spawns. It a good movie.
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Funny with Great Message
Claudio Carvalho25 April 2013
In Blithe Hollow, the outcast boy Norman Babcock lives with his father Perry, his mother Sandra and his teenage sister Courtney. Norman is considered a freak by his schoolmates since he speaks to the dead, including his grandmother that watches horror movies on television with him. However nobody believes that Norman has this ability besides his fat friend Neil.

Norman's deranged uncle Mr. Prenderghast meets Norman and tells that he must protect Blithe Hollow from the witch curse. Soon Mr. Prenderghast dies and his ghost explains to Norman that he should get his book and perform a ritual in the witch's grave. Norman finds the book that is a fairytale and then he goes to the seven graves where the men that condemned the witch are buried. However, Norman is interrupted by the school bully Alvin and the dead arise and invade the town. Soon Norman has a dream and finds that the witch is the girl Agatha that was sentenced to death in 1712 due to her medium ability. Now Norman wants to convince Agatha that her revenge is turning her equal to those who killed her.

"Paranorman" is a stop-motion animation with a very funny supernatural story. Norman speaking with his grandma in the beginning and Mitch telling to Courtney that he has a boyfriend in the end are hilarious. The story has also a great message against the prejudice and ignorance. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Paranorman"
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Laika,stop-motion's Pixar
lestedu2980030 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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Dead & Lovely
RainDogJr16 August 2012
I recently watched again, and reviewed here, MONSTER HOUSE, which is, like PARANORMAN, an animated horror movie for kids (actually, both feature as main character a boy who has a fat-and-funny friend). I'm not sure if MONSTER HOUSE appeared in the great Fangoria magazine, but PARANORMAN did. I was already interested in watching it on the big screen when I found out the Fangoria coverage, which was just the plus. I was interested for the obvious reason: stop-motion material from the people responsible of CORALINE (not Henry Selick tough). This is clearly the sort-of little stop-motion film of year (and I said sort-of little since it had a pretty big publicity campaign here in Mexico City) while Tim Burton's upcoming FRANKENWEENIE is like the big and long-awaited one.

There is some good news. While we wait to found out if Burton finally does something great after almost 10 years, here we have a film that will give movie geeks really cool stuff. Needless to say, kids won't enjoy some of the elements that most likely you will, fellow reader. Well, you will if you're into very cool horror tributes, in the way Quentin Tarantino would be proud, and nice takes on witch-hunt… and into zombies, of course. Talking about the zombies here, well, I recalled what Guillermo Del Toro's said about CRONOS; he said basically that the vampire from his film is like the saddest vampire ever. I won't say much, only that here we can think in the zombies as sad and confused human beings. The main character Norman is not the classic happy kid as well; you'll love him by just seeing his liking for horror – actually, not every day we have an animated movie that opens like something out of a Grindhouse. And there's good humor (and McLovin as a bully with stretched piercing – I watched the 2D Spanish dubbed version tough), so yes, it's worth watching!

*Watched it on 08 August, 2012
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How to bludgeon your kids with a message
terabiel24 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
ParaNorman is a movie with a message. That message is Listening to Others is good. Fair enough. Good Message. But this movie isn't good. It's lousy. It hits you over the head with the message that no one listens to poor Norman and Norman doesn't listen to other people... in the first ten minutes. It then proceeds to reinforce that message by clubbing you upside the skull every couple of minutes with further examples of failed communication, inattentive parents & teachers, and over the top mockery.

The movie also makes a stand against reactionary mob mentality, both in the 300 year old judicial murder of the 11 year old "witch" of town fame and the modern townsfolk's panic at the rise of 7 zombies who hurt absolutely no one. And why does all this happen? Because no one is Listening! Weren't you listening?

That said, the humor isn't funny, the acting isn't interesting, and the visuals? meh. They look like Jimmy Neutron, but less so.
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Pro Healing, Pro Courage, Pro Forgiveness, Pro Spiritual, Pro Witch, Pro Gay, Pro Paranormal!
liberalgems25 August 2012
This is, by far, the best film of 2012! Towards the end, tears were coming to my eyes! What a incredibly pleasant surprise!

I have to admit that I was concerned that ParaNorman would lead to insulting or trivializing the Wiccan/Pagan/Spiritualist/Paranormal community! But just the opposite happened! While maintaining a steady sense of humor from beginning to end ParaNorman is a many layered, very profound movie, that, quite frankly, is a masterpiece! The only movie as of August 2012 that I will purchase this year to add to my film collection!

If you are Pro Healing, Pro Courage, Pro Forgiveness, Pro Spiritual, Pro Witch, Pro Gay, and Pro Paranormal, like I am, then make sure you see this film before it leaves the theaters. Films this good don't usually last in mainstream theaters for very long. For example, the only other great film that I've seen this year, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has been showing only on single screen in the Baltimore City & County, an area of over a million people!

Thank you Hollywood for sticking your neck out by making a movie for grown-ups, while at the same time making a film you can take the entire family to see!
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One of the best films of the year
rivertam2622 August 2012
I am 33 y/o and a long time horror fan and I absolutely loved this film. Yes the film looks wonderful and the execution is awe inspiring, yes the story of Norman brought tears to my eyes a few times, yes I jumped a few times and yes I think this is one of the best films of the year! The film centers on a young boy named Norman who has a special gift that allows him to see and communicate with ghosts. He has a bad reputation in his small town famous for burning a witch at the stake over a century ago. He's bullied constantly because he's different and even his family doesn't take him seriously. He's a big horror movie fan especially zombie films and on the eve of the burning's anniversary he is contacted by a smelly homeless guy who he finds out shares his gifts. Unfortunately the man passes away and he is made aware of his responsibilities in the town. Since he's able to communicate with the paranormals he is to read from a special book at the witch's gravesite before the sun sets so that he can prevent her curse from becoming realized. Something obviously goes awry and the curse begins as the bodies of the people that slain her rise. And it's only up to Norman to save the day before the town goes crazy. ParaNorman is such a great film. Besides being a visual marvel the films explores deeper and more prevalent subject matter including bullying, being scared, handling prejudice if your different, the acceptance of parents and the acceptance of ones self, How people who are scared make bad decisions sometimes, the acceptance of different people, and the devastating effects of how reacting negatively to negative actions only make matters worse. I know it may sound somewhat trivial to an extent or even childish but all of the lessons in this film can spill over into so many aspects of everyones life. In that alone it is completely relatable to everyone. The voice work from Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck and Christopher Mintz amongst others is inspired as well as the accomplished direction that fuses genre staples with a light hearted family film to near perfection. Also I'd like to praise the film makers for taking an innocent and appreciated step into full acceptance of everyones lifestyles (you'll know what I'm talking about when the film ends) and the clever nods towards the horror genre that made me feel like a big kid again. The same company who executed the small but over rated hit Coraline present this as well. But the work here is far better, the film is much more engaging and easily relatable and I didn't fall asleep in this film. ParaNorman is a true instant classic. A gateway film for younger fans wanting to explore the genre and a great, smart, funny, entertaining film and one of the best of the year! 4.5/5
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quite an interesting animation movie with everything fun to entertain
petit7616 August 2012
After seeing many low quality animation movies recently, Laika has made a masterpiece with Paranorman.I was anticipating this movie for a long time and it exceeded my expectations at a great extense. Laika is one of the best animation picture companies bringing innovations to this genre of movies rather than using old-fashioned and conventional methods to make movies. You see the cinematic difference all throughout this superb fun to watch movie. The story of this movie may sound a bit awkward but it is quite captivating throughout. It was my first experience ever to wait till the credits rolled to pay my appreciation to every single counterparts of this movie. The story is pretty much about a picked on and friendless kid who is becoming the hero of his town when a curse breaks loose in his small New England town.I enjoyed every single minute of this movie trying to see what Laika did differently than other companies could have done. If you are a huge fan of animation movies and also love 3D pictures go and see this movie. I give 10 out of 10 for this whimsical movie. Everything was up to par.It was fun to see the character development which was unorthodox and one-liners being cracked off by every single character in the movie was meticulous. The main character reminded me of the kid in the movie up of last year. I loved the cinematic aspect, too. Nothing really fell short of humor. I also liked the music.Everything was pair as a square! go and see this movie this weekend , you will be leaving the auditorium with a great smile. Watching a bad movie and leaving the auditorium with apprehension was my personal problem but Paranorman was terrific and made me smile till i drove back home .
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A frightful blend of humorless, grotesque characters propelled by a derivative zombie horror plot
Turfseer30 December 2012
Warning: 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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What a disappointment!
cs3514 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The movie starts out great - this little kid can see and talk to ghosts. He passes and talks to at least ten on his way to school, then, for some reason, this plot point is discarded. He sees a ghost dog and gets important plot information from a ghostly relative (it's almost like to whole 'sees ghosts thing' was a set up to enable this vital plot point.). No more ghosts. The plot now switches to a witch's curse and zombies. Very funny zombies and a very scary witch-like apparition in the sky. But then the whole tone of the movie changes. The zombies are the victims, the witch is - well, I won't give that away. Let's just say the final act gets sentimental and serious and drags the whole movie down. Too bad - there are some very funny characters and some beautiful animation. The 3D is well done.
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i think it doesn't worth the trouble to go see it
bogdanei1 January 2013
it isn't for kids (at all). it is lousy as a scary movie, lousy as a cartoon. not even funny. it should be at least over 12. not worth the money and the trouble to go see it. the story might have had a better approach by making it a bit more funny. it is grim and sad and my kid wouldn't have surely lasted until the end. of course, it might have given him some bad dreams. the scene with the dead uncle and the book is surpassing any definition of disgusting (i wonder it it was to be scary or funny in the director's/maker's intention?). Coraline was as grin as this, but at least it gave this strange world sensation and ... well, again, it is not a movie for kids. it isn't nice at all, and it completely failed to catch me at all
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Its like Mental Junk-Food
akelmur30 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
ParaNorman is like junk-food, at first glance it looks good and initially taste good, but you feel bad after ingesting it! This is in contrast to the typical Pixar films,where as you walk away feeling good. Movie has dark and foreboding undertone. Storyline engages with societal taboos' which gave many people discomfort and/or initiates a reflexive "yuck" reaction. Adult at best, recommend parents not take their children to see it. Movie falls in the not too uncommon nether region of marginalization. Its neither an appropriate kids movie or a really appealing adult animation. This is typical of animations associated with Henry Selick or Niel Gaiman.
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A cut above the norm for this type of kid venture but not worth quite the critical rave it's received.
Hellmant30 January 2013
'PARANORMAN': Three Stars (Out of Five)

An Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature Film (of 2012), and one of the better reviewed movies of the year, this stop-motion animated film tells the story of a boy who can communicate with dead people who's called on to save his town from a 300-year old curse. The film was written and co-directed (along with Sam Fell) by Chris Butler. Butler worked on the storyboards for other spooky animated films like 'CORALINE' and 'CORPSE BRIDE'. This marks his feature film directing and writing debut. The film was produced over the course of three years at a studio in Hillsboro, Oregon and is the first stop-motion animated film to use a 3D color printer to create it's character's faces (and the second to be shot in 3D). The voice cast includes the likes of Kodi Smit-McPhee (of 'LET ME IN' and 'THE ROAD' fame), Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman. I found the film to be a cut above the norm for this type of kid venture but not worth quite the critical rave it's received.

The film revolves around a boy by the name of Norman Babcock (Smit-McPhee) who is gifted with the ability of being able to speak to dead people. His family and other townsfolk in the small town of Blithe Hollow don't believe he can really communicate with spirits though and he's seen and treated as an outcast freak. A fellow classmate, who's also an outcast named Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), is the only one who believes Norman, along with Norman's uncle Mr. Prenderghast (Goodman). Mr. Prenderghast calls on Norman, one day, to protect the town from a 300-year old curse. Norman is informed that the curse was cast by a witch centuries ago and will bring about the living dead. Norman is reluctant to believe his uncle until zombies start walking the streets and it truly is up to Norman to use his special powers to save the day.

I have a hard time getting in to animated kid's films like this (especially stop-motion ones). Usually due to the fact that these films are all filled with one-dimensional characters and lame kid friendly jokes. This movie definitely has it's fair share of both these things but it also has a little more character and emotional depth than most animated films of this type. It also plays some good homage to monster films and has a nice retro feel to it (at times). The music is spectacular and it is a little more creepy and mature than you might expect from the trailers. It also has been praised (as well as condemned) for having the first openly gay character in a kid's film (which I think is a very good thing). The movie still has it's flaws and it isn't as cool as critics make it out to be but it is a decent, better than average animated kid's film.

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