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ParaNorman (2012)

tomatometer

87

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 163
Fresh: 142 | Rotten: 21

Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.

86

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 5

Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.

audience

72

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 80,050

My Rating

Movie Info

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 Coraline, 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,

Nov 27, 2012

$56.0M

Focus Features - Official Site External Icon

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Cast

Latest News on ParaNorman

April 23, 2013:
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This week in streaming, we've got one Oscar-winner, a Certified Fresh animation, a couple of...
February 7, 2013:
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The new animated project, to be filmed in 3D stop-motion/CG, boasts a voice cast that includes Ben...

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All Critics (163) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (142) | Rotten (21) | DVD (1)

Ghoulish? Yes. Funny? You bet.

September 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paranorman has a unique look that's equal parts old school and cutting edge.

August 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com
Richard Roeper.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film avoids the pandering of many animated features, bringing an acerbic edge and a thrilling intelligence to its story.

August 27, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"ParaNorman" took a huge risk on a scarier concept, and it paid off enormously.

August 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"ParaNorman" is never less than entertaining, but you'll have to follow it into a strange purgatory between two opposing genres.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If the story lacks the consistent psychological depth of Coraline, another tale of an outcast finding solace in a parallel world, amends are made during the lovely climax.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

ParaNorman treats its viewers with respect, and is all the more wonderful for it.

October 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The National
The National

The thrilling finale is a terrific blend of heartfelt emotion, surreal visuals and inventive ghostly spectacle, and the film's timeless message is put across in wonderfully ghoulish and surprising ways.

October 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Is there such a thing as a gateway drug for horror films? If so, ParaNorman might be just the ticket.

October 6, 2013 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

[C]inema is nothing if not a fluid creature that has the power to affect us based on any number of variables. The climactic action sequence of ParaNorman is too busy from a visual standpoint, but its message shines loud and clear.

September 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Trespass
Trespass

I can't imagine any kid who enjoys Halloween (I mean the holiday, not the movie) not being delighted by ParaNorman.

July 17, 2013 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

The only thing animated about it is the animation, which is so spectacular that you begrudge the script for not being equally inspired.

May 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

PARANORMAN is ambitious and inventive, marvelously conceived, but the bulk of its value lies within the movie's open-minded philosophy.

April 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Badass Digest
Badass Digest

Movies that set themselves firmly against bullying are great, but ones that play to horror fans are even better.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

An extremely strange blend of genres and styles, ParaNorman somehow manages to pull it off...sort of.

January 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Kids who can handle the bumps should find much to love in this beautifully animated ramshackle parcel, one that's packed full of detail, humour and positive messages.

January 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Moviedex
Moviedex

ParaNorman is style, substance, [delicious] brains and a huge [cold dead] heart.

January 17, 2013 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

ParaNorman demonstrates - as did films such as Coraline, The Corpse Bride, Wallace & Gromit and The Nightmare Before Christmas - that stop-motion animation has a texture and warmth that can't (yet!) be replicated by computer.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

I still liked ParaNorman and it deserves to be seen for its wit and the work of its passionate animators.

January 9, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

Bristling with energy, here's a delectable 3D film that's inventive, funny, devilishly ghoulish, loaded with splendid effects and a heartfelt story at its core

January 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Funny, frightening, exciting and extremely thoughtful about the nature of the conflict at the core of the film, ParaNorman is a standout feature animation.

January 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) loves zombie movies, monster movies, and all other kinds of movies about dead people, the grosser and gooier the better.

December 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Time to Play Magazine
Time to Play Magazine

The inner horror fan is accessed via the child inside in this quirky stop-motion animation treat

December 9, 2012 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie
The Popcorn Junkie

Like its hero, this smart, funny and beautifully animated film achieves great things by daring to be different.

October 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Star
Daily Star

Charming stop-motion lumps chase a witch

October 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

For moviegoers who tend to look down their nose at horror films, ParaNorman offers proof positive that the genre that gets us screaming can also have real substance.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for ParaNorman

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 like 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.
December 28, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

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 quirky 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.
August 11, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

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, 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.
July 5, 2013
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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 13, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

    1. Courtney: So I was wondering if you want to see a movie sometime?
    2. Mitch: Nah. You would like my boyfriend. He's a total chick flick nut.
    – Submitted by Miles F (43 days ago)
    1. Mitch: All you want to do is burn and murder stuff, burn and murder stuff, just burning and murdering.
    – Submitted by Miles F (43 days ago)
    1. Sandra Babcock: Not believing in the afterlife is like not believing in astrology.
    – Submitted by Alfred B (4 months ago)
    1. Alvin: Don't get your bra in a twist, fat boy. This has nothing to do with you, so keep out of my way.
    2. Neil: Or what?
    3. Alvin: Or, uh, I'll punch you in boobs.
    4. Neil: I don't have boobs. These are pectorals.
    5. Neil: Ow! My boobs!
    – Submitted by Isabella M (16 months ago)
    1. Mr. Prenderghast: Tell me you'll do this.
    2. Norman Babcock: I. I.
    3. Mr. Prenderghast: Swear!
    4. Norman Babcock: You mean the F word?
    5. Mr. Prenderghast: I mean, promise!
    – Submitted by Isabella M (16 months ago)
    1. Sandra Babcock: Y'know, sometimes people say things that seem mean, but they do it because they're afraid.
    2. Norman Babcock: He's my dad. He shouldn't be afraid of me.
    3. Sandra Babcock: He's not afraid OF you, he's afraid FOR you.
    – Submitted by Sara J (18 months ago)
View all quotes (42)

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