[Movie Review] ParaNorman (2012) ★★★★★

Norman in ParaNorman 2012

ParaNorman is a magical scary fun adventurous tale that has something to say.

ParaNorman is a computer animated supernatural scary movie for kids from the age of nine. It’s a wonderful film about people who are different, about a curse, about a little witch, zombies and Norman who can see ghosts. It’s a great adventure full of fun, scary zombies, bravery, small minded people, revenge, being bullied and about doing the right thing. It’s action packed, dynamic, playful and unconventional. With a beautiful stop-motion technique the characters come to life in this thrilling cursed zombie adventure. ParaNorman is a wonderful film aimed at kids, but it’s a great film for the whole family as well and adults will certainly enjoy it very much. 

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11 Year-old Norman Babcock lives in Blithe Hollow and he can see ghosts and can even talk to them. Everybody thinks he’s a weirdo and he only has one best friend Neil. But there’s a legend in Blithe Hollow. A witch was sentenced to death and has put a curse upon the town and now she is about to make this curse come true and she will unleash her anger. Zombies rise from their graves and attack the townspeople and Norman is the only one who can stop them. He gets help from Neil and also very unexpectedly from his bully Alvin, his sister Courtney and Neil’s brother Mitch. 

Why you should watch it

ParaNorman isn’t your usual exciting supernatural story for kids. It does have something to say as well. But the message is well wrapped into a great story that will appeal to kids and adults alike. It’s a story about self-discovery, but also about learning more about others. It’s not about a bad witch, for there is far more to the witch than the legends appears it to be. Her story is very moving, heartbreaking and full of injustice, but not everything is shown in a black-and-white way. The motives and motivations, the fear and anger are all very realistic and close to home, to which kids and adults can relate to. The story of the witch Agatha is well-crafted and the plot of the film, while Norman and his new friends are the heart of it. 

The characters really come to life in a very imaginative way and so do the zombies who are not that scary, but mostly bring in some scary fun. The cinematography is outstanding for an animation and you often forget that it actually is computer animated. Especially the last scenes where Norman meets Aggie the witch is beautifully shot and told and certainly not your average animation. These last scenes that unfold the mystery stand out from the rest of the film, to emphasize its meaning and importance to the story. 

ParaNorman is full of action, humor, inventive scenes, great lovable characters, wonderful dynamics and with a mysterious curse and funny zombies and a tragic onset. Asides from the craftsmanship, which is outstanding, the story itself is amazingly executed and delivers a timeless story about choices and human behavior. It’s about treating people no less differently because they are different from you. It’s a fairytale adventure, but it’s much more than good overcoming evil. Evil isn’t always what it seems to be, nor is good. In everybody there’s good and evil, it’s all about the choices you make. Without overemphasizing this message it’s well woven into this great story that is brilliant entertainment for everyone. 

My favorite part

I really liked the zombies who caused some havoc in the town, but the most impressive part was when Norman was taken into this dreamlike state to communicate with Aggie the witch. It was such a wonderful and moving story and really sad actually, but how it all ended was even better. It might be quite intense and emotionally unsetting for the younger kids, but in the end it’s most impressive and it does end well with good vibes. 


Rating: ★★★★★

Fun factor: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆

Originality factor: ★★★★★

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

ParaNorman is directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler and written by Chris Butler, Stephen Stone, Arianne Sutner. It stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (Norman Babcock), Tucker Albrizzi (Neil), Anna Kendrick (Courtney), Casey Affleck (Mitch), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Alvin), Leslie Mann (Sandra), Jeff Garlin (Perry), Elaine Stritch (Grandma), Jodelle Ferland (Aggie) and John Goodman (Mr Penderghast).

Duration: 92 minutes. Music: Jon Brion. Cinematography: Tristan Oliver. Edited by: Christopher Murrie-Green. Produced by: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner. Production company: Focus Features, Laika Entertainment. Distributed by: Focus Features.

Check the trailer below

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