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72% Liked It
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Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated Coraline. ParaNorman is, following Coral... read more read more...ine, the company's second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he'll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits. -- (C) Focus

Id: 11157574

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Recent Reviews

  • December 28, 2013
    From the same studio that created the delightfully creepy "Coraline" comes another family horror flick that once again boasts great stop-motion animation. Unfortunately, it's a shame to report that the rest of the film is not nearly as finely crafted in other areas.

    It's not lik... read moree the narrative didn't contain an interesting premise, that which follows a socially awkward boy named Norman, who has the uncanny ability to talk to the dead. Norman is an immediately sympathetic figure because nobody believes in his special ability and the small town society he lives in socially and emotionally rejects him due to this, especially his parents. However, as the story picks up things become significantly less interesting (Norman's ability never ends up having any significant bearing on the plot).

    The two biggest problems stem from two sources: the characters and tone. The characters are in short: boring and painfully one-dimensional. Even Norman himself goes underdeveloped, almost as if the script was way more interested in giving screen time to the supporting cast. Speaking of the supporting characters, most of them are forgettable archetypes (the fat geek kid, the jock bully, the blond girl) that mostly exist to tell jokes and nothing else. This leads to the next crippling prevalent issue, a good majority of the humor in this film fall completely flat due to inept comedic timing or being lame cliché jokes that have been used in so many other past films.

    The whole affair also feels tonally confused, with the horror and family film elements not nearly as well balanced as they were in "Coraline". The main threat in this film consists of resurrected Puritan zombies and they never end up coming off as a foreboding threat. It's as if the writer's were more interesting in the visual gag possibilities of the zombies rather than establishing them as a credible threat (Heck, it seemed like even without Norman the zombies would have been easily defeated by the town's people). On one end, kids may get a kick at some of the jokes but meanwhile adults will most likely be bored with the overly simplistic drawn-out narrative and half-baked horror elements.

    Once again, it's not like the film was completely unsalvageable. There is a third-act plot twist that is actually legitimately heart-breaking and leads to by far the best scene in the entire movie (at least the most emotionally charged section that was thankfully devoid of forced jokes). It also leads to an admirable life lesson about accepting others and dashes of slightly daring social commentary (at least, for a kids film) regarding society's treatment of outsiders. It's just a shame that the sequence came so late into the film because it only served as a reminder for it's wasted potential.

    In the end, "Paranorman" serves as an example of a good idea that was terribly executed. Great animation and an interesting premise are buried six feet under a crappy narrative, awful pacing, poorly written humor, and jarring tonal inconsistencies.
  • August 11, 2013
    This has to be one of the most surprising, awe inspiring, and beautiful films of the year, and on top of that it's a children's film. Laika, a new studio on the scene, made this film in a revolutionary style, akin to "Coraline," but in 3D. The studio took a chance on a very quirk... read morey and independent kind of film, and it's these studios that are bringing out newer and better concepts for children's faire. Not only is this film morbid, but it's also revolutionary when it comes to its characters. Maybe some of the templates are still there, but the characters themselves are completely different, and certainly entertaining. Our hero Norman (Smit-McPhee) is odd of course while also having a supernatural power, which makes him even odder and plainly different than the antagonizing children around him. Really, the kids in this film are overtly mean, and though it's a bit over the top it is realistic. Norman is interested in zombies and death, because he speaks to the dead, and while this is set up very ingeniously, it's also swift for us to realize that this kid isn't normal Norman. The other supporting characters seem as usual as you get in a kid's film, but there are some surprises. The pudgy kid who gets all the laughs is much more sincere than the usual slack-jawed numb nuts stereotype. The typical jock gets a major upgrade and changed the face of children's movies, maybe forever. The visuals in this are as amazing as you would expect from stop motion puppetry through computer animation. Besides the characters being weird, so are the settings, the zombies, and the villain is the most impressive witch to be featured in a children's film in years. Besides being a strange alternative for most kids it also has a great message and goes against bullying, which is always good. This is one of the best films to show a child, especially those that are strange themselves.
  • July 5, 2013
    It's all fun and games until someone raises the dead.

    Good animated movie! 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. Overall, the voice acting is great... read more, 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.

    In the town of Blithe Hollow, Norman Babcock is a boy who can speak to the dead, but no one besides his eccentric new friend, Neil, believes his ability is real. One day, Norman's estranged eccentric uncle tells him of an important annual ritual he must take up to protect the town from a curse cast by a witch it condemned centuries ago. Eventually, Norman decides to cooperate, but things don't go according to plan. Now, a magic storm of the witch threatens Blithe Hollow as the accursed dead rise. Together with unexpected new companions, Norman struggles to save his town, only to discover the horrific truth of the curse. With that insight, Norman must resolve the crisis for good as only he can.
  • June 13, 2013
    Very well done animation, with a great story of acceptance of the different in oneself and others. A more sophisticated animated film in that it doesn't rely on screaming parrots and potty humor to pander to children or immature adults. Highly recommended.
  • June 9, 2013
    Grandma: There's nothing wrong with being scared Norman, so long as you don't let it change who you are.

    "It's all fun and games until someone raises the dead."

    ParaNorman is a fantastic film filled with great animation. There's some great homages being paid here as well throug... read morehout. From Halloween to Night of the Dead, a number of great horror films have their hands all over this. The film is extremely fun, but also I would have a hard time showing it to my kids, if I had some. These children movies these days are getting more and more real world. Some of the things said in this movie truly shocked me when I think about the target audience. Still, for me as a childless adult; I loved it. 

    Norman is a odd young boy. While most kids are running around with their friends, Norman's only friends seem to be... well, um... dead. Nobody believes that Norman can actually speak to the dead and most of the kids at school just pick on him and call him names. Even his family has had enough of him. One day his uncle(who can see ghosts too) dies, and his spirit comes to Norman telling him that he must read a book to the witches grave to stop the curse from happening. Well, he doesn't get there in time and now the dead are the living dead.

    The setting for the film is in a Massachusetts town that is supposed to resemble that of Salem, Massachusetts. The town is built on the history of a witch that was killed many years ago, and now wakes up once a year to fulfill her curse, if not read to from the book. The setting works really well and the movie does have a lot of great, mild horror elements at work, that makes it a very rewarding movie for horror buffs. It's a lot like Frankenweenie in those regards.

    ParaNorman is definitely a worthwhile film and one of the better "scary" family movies to come out in recent memory. Although, if you plan on watching it with the kids, I suggest watching it before you do because there may be some material that you wouldn't want your kids watching or listening to. I would also consider this a must watch for horror buffs along with Frankenweenie because seeing all these horror elements and homages done in a more mild way is just a lot of fun.
  • May 24, 2013
    I love the way LAIKA are giving the world of computer 3D animation a run for their money. ParaNorman is a great little film. The detail is as good as the story, both are of a high quality. It's a bit scary for kids though but as an adult (and if I was a kid still) this would defi... read morenitely be the one I'd go for. Stop motion all the way baby, it's sad how you don't seem to see many good story and good animation films, it seems to be either one of the other. More please.
  • February 19, 2013
    Fun movie!! Lots of chuckle moments...
  • January 15, 2013
    'ParaNorman'. Hilariously clever visual gags, a lovable central character, and beautiful stop motion. Deserves the best animated feature.

    Is it stupid to say a "kid's film" is too heavy-handed with its message? That would be my only complaint of 'ParaNorman'. A little more subtl... read moreety would not have been missed, and I do only mean a little more.

    Oh, and 'Frankenweenie' has a lot to learn from this. The way that thing fell apart made me marvel this further.
  • January 4, 2013
    I really enjoyed the look and feel of this flick. The world they created was spot on for this story and it all worked. Much like a friend of mine I think the first hour or so is solid and very entertaining. It starts to fall apart a little as the film wraps up though. Not that it... read more's a bad ending it's just not as solid as the beginning and middle.
  • January 4, 2013
    A powerful film both in terms of it's awe-inspiring stop-motion animation and it's unexpectedly complex themes and commentary.

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