ParaNorman

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Released 2012

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8.1
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Movie Summary

Director:
Sam Fell , Chris Butler
Released:
2012
Rating:
PG

A misunderstood outcast namedNorman Babcock has the ability to speak to the undead. An issue that has plagued him his whole life until his small New England town of Blithe Hollow comes under the attack of an ancient witches curse. Norman must battle ghosts, ghouls, witches, and zombies in order to save his town from certain doom.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Wow. Just wow.

    8.5
    (WARNING: contains spoilers!)



    I remember last year being sort of interested in seeing this movie. I heard it was made by the same people who did "Coraline", which did perk my interest, but after seeing a couple of trailers, my want to see this died down. I knew exactly how it was going to go down; seen it far too many times before for it to be considered 'original'. And here's how I thought it would go: freak who's misunderstood finds kindred spirit in a friend who faces a similar dilemma, everyone doubts them, they end up being right and having to save the day, defeat the zombies, everyone thinks that they're heroes. And yeah, my predictions were somewhat right.



    But mark my words... SOMEWHAT.



    Okay, okay.. this movie had so many stereotypes, I can't even name all of them...



    Dumb jock, fat friend, zombie invasion, witch's curse, seeing the dead, pretentious blonde girl, etc.



    Well, "ParaNorman" sees all of those stereotypes as something to break.



    For starters, let me talk about it from beginning to end.



    The opening to half-way through, I'll admit, I hardly enjoyed. I mean, they made a lot of hit or miss jokes (but a hit definitely being the reference to "Halloween") and most of it was just seeing Norman being tormented for being different. We get his stupid blonde sister into the picture, a stupid bully named Alvin in there, and somewhere in-between all of those stupid characters is Neil, Norman's somewhat friend whose constantly trying to get him to do stuff with him. I guess he's "ParaNorman"'s version of Rowley from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". The confrontation with Norman and the uncle was pretty funny, though. I got a slight chuckle out of it, so it's pretty okay by my standards. Now, I think the best part in the first half was by far when Norman and his classmates were putting on a play, and the world (from his perspective) started to crumble around him; leading him into a forest-type setting. It was nice foreshadowing to what events happen later on. Also, kudos to the animators when Norman starts to wander off into the flashback. It was a great touch of animation to go along with the Claymation.



    As for the rest of the film, well...



    It was outstanding. I would of given the movie a better score if ALL of it was a great as the last portion! Okay; as expected, Norman doesn't read the story in enough time and according to the witch's curse, the victims come back to life, leading in them causing havoc upon the citizens of.. uh, they never really addressed where they were. Norman and the rest try to find some information on where the witch was buried in the archives of town hall, but unfortunately, don't come across any. Norman's sister, Courtney, makes a big fuss about Norman being dumb about the whole living-dead situation when uh hELLO? HE PREDICTED THIS WHOLE THING WOULD HAPPEN. No one really seemed to apologize for his warnings, though. You'd think that he KNOWS what he's doing when it comes to that sort of thing. Anyways, Norman is left alone, when he is thrown into another flashback (but this time, pretty much completely) where he stands before a jury of six and a judge. The judge goes on about how he's convicted of witchcraft by the testimony of the six witnesses, and the judge sentences him to death by hanging. Norman opens his mouth to object, but is interrupted by the sound of a little girl sobbing, he turns around and realizes that SHE was the one that they were going to put to death, not him. She starts pleading, saying she was only playing, but the judge refuses to hear what she has to say, and the six witnesses start to enclose on her. WOAH. I was amazed by how powerful this scene was; it was a shocker to the audience, as well as a very depressing matter. An 11-year-old girl sentenced to death by hanging in a children's flick? Don't see that very often. The flashback ends with the girl screaming that she'll make all of them (including the judge) suffer. and then it's revealed that (PLOT-TWIST UHOH) the zombies were the seven people that lead Aggie to her untimely death. I honestly got chills when the faces of the people were compared to the zombies.. It takes powerful writing to make ME quiver.



    The rest is pretty much getting Norman to Aggie to tell her the story (to try to, at least, calm her down), yet the story he tries to read her has no effect. I think if the courtroom-flashback sequence wasn't my favorite part, then it was BY FAR the climax.



    Norman is separated from his family and friends and forced to confront Aggie (along with his fears) alone. Of course, this is a dilemma considering that Aggie didn't like the story he was telling before and he had to think of SOMETHING that would put her spirit to rest. But luckily, he doesn't have to improvise, as he tells the story of Aggie's life up to her cruel departure. I thought that the visuals were pretty spectacular and very much fitting to the mood of the scene (along with the dramatic music in the background being my favorite in the entire movie). While trying to tell the story, Aggie does things like pushing him, or electrocuting him, wanting to prevent Norman from finishing. I also want to mention the part where Aggie's emotions were physically splitting her in two.. like how she was terrified and undeniably angry at the same time. Her expressions are REAAALLLY done well to show what exactly she's feeling, and I understand that it took CGI, Claymation AND traditional 2-D to make Angry Aggie, and it really shows. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that in a stop-motion film before, but the different mediums combined together make the character much more lively and surreal. Her yellow-lightening design is pretty creative as well. Anyways, Norman goes onto tell Aggie that she's only a meager part of what's left of herself, and how what she's doing to the people who killed her doesn't justify what they did in the past. So basically, two wrongs don't make a right. It's really one of the couple of morals in this film that are constantly hammered into your head. He goes onto say that there must be someone who loved her, grabs her hand, and then proceeds to suck them both into a flashback-setting and Aggie is alive again. She mentions that her mother was that individual he was referring to and is basically 'laid at rest' yeah yeah happy ending.

    I forgot to mention it before, but I heard a SPLENDID line from Norman somewhere in that scene, possibly the best I've heard from any kid's film in a while. "You think just because there's bad people out there that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while, but there's always someone out there for you, GREAT lesson for kids.

    Overall? ParaNorman is a real mixed bag. When scenes are good, they're outstandingly so. But when they're ehh, they're usually mediocre.



    I feel like I should give credit for this movie for having the guts to portray a jock-like stereotype into a homosexual (which I really, REALLY did like; not many movies do this) and not being afraid to put up with the complaints from incompetent parents, who're worried about ONE gay character affecting their child's sexuality. Jeez, people. Lighten up. This isn't the 1950's anymore.



    I could of done well without the kiddy humor in some parts, but you know, it IS a children's flick, and I suppose there has to be something from the trailer that kids can mindlessly quote. While I'm not sure what kind of audience "ParaNorman" TRIES to appeal to, it is a pretty good film and far above my expectations.moreless

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