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Nov 26, 2012

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Chris Butler

Sam Fell


Kodi Smit-McPhee

Anna Kendrick

Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Leslie Mann


2012 Focus Features

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: ParaNorman.

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Reviewed by

Overall B-
Run Time93

Making the Grades

“I see dead people” has been a popular theme in movies ever since Haley Joel Osment uttered the line in the 2000 (The Sixth Sense). Now Norman (voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young boy living in the small New England town of Blithe Hollow, is also cursed/blessed with this metaphysical ability.

Whether it’s his dead grandmother who chides him for watching zombie movies or the legion of ghostly people he meets on the way to school, it’s fair to say this boy with the sixth sense gets very little time alone. Even worse, Norman’s otherworldly conversations make him a prime target for bullying from his peers and ridicule from his frustrated father. Still this ghost whisperer has attracted one friend, an overweight and allergy prone boy named Neil (voice of Tucker Albrizzi), who is accepting of Norman’s unusual talent.

Then there is Mr. Penderghast (voice of John Goodman), the typical spooky old guy who lives in the house on the hill and happens to be Norman’s uncle. Also rumored to be able to communicate with those who have passed on, he is desperate to teach the boy how to use his gift to thwart a centuries old curse on Blithe Hollow. Sadly the disheveled man dies before the information can be transferred. But fortunately he is still able to reach Norman, albeit in a most unusual way, with his face appearing in a school toilet.

Now Norman and Neil, along with their respective older siblings Courtney (voice of Anna Kendrick) and Mitch (Casey Affleck), are left with the daunting task of saving the town from the curse. And the evil charm is about to intensify with the 300th anniversary of a witch trial that resulted in a young girl’s execution.

Although the script features juvenile protagonists, this animation is very likely to frighten young children thanks to frequent jump scenes, gruesome images of corpses, insects bursting from teddy bears, and zombies with body parts that fall off. Obviously families who don’t appreciate occult themes will want to steer clear of this script that views witchcraft as a “special gift.” The bullying issue is also a concern because it is only Norman’s abilities that allow him to eventually gain respect from his aggressors—an unlikely solution for young audience members experiencing similar threats. And there are a couple of moments of mild sensuality including a teen girl who fawns over a bare-chested teen boy.

ParaNorman’s unique animation style and interesting musical score are worth noting. So are the occasional funny lines in the script and a message that uses the witchcraft plot to teach tolerance to modern day students. Yet it seems too scary for young kids, too immature for teens, and even less likely to interest adults. While it is commendable that Norman finds the courage to confront and tame the wicked force that wants to destroy his community, parents who want a good night’s sleep after this movie will need to carefully consider its appropriateness for their children.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about ParaNorman.

How does Norman resolve his bullying issue? What are some realistic methods young people could use to overcome this threat?

What stereotypes do you see in this movie? Consider Norman, Courtney, Neil and Mitch. Do you think stereotypes affect the way we view certain types of people?

Trailers & Clips

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Frightening Scenes.
AB PG Frightening Scenes, Not Recommended For Young Children
MB PG Frightening Scenes.
ON PG Some Scary Scenes, Cartoon/Animation Action.
QC G Not Recommended For Young Children.

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of ParaNorman...

Home Video Notes: ParaNorman

Release Date: 27 November 2012

ParaNorman releases to home video in 3D (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) and as a Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet Digital Copy). Extras include:

- Preliminary Animatic Sequences: With commentary from Director Sam Fell and Writer/Director Chris Butler.

- Peering Through the Veil: A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creation of the weird and wonderful world of ParaNorman from building the characters to voicing them.

- Featurettes: Seven short segments showcasing Norman and his extraordinarily unusual costars.

- Feature Commentary: With Director Sam Fell and Writer/Director Chris Butler.

- BD-Live (Exclusive HD Content)

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Annon e. Mouse says: Aug. 18, 2012

(If you havent seen the movie read no further… MAJOR SPOILER ALERT)

I think the detailed review was actually inaccurate about the “witchcraft as a special gift” statement, because the point of the movie was actually that the seven ‘cursed’ were mistaken to assume that the accused person was a witch… The point was, she was a normal person with abnormal abilities similar to Norman’s… Only difference was the lightning thing, but remember, this was in a ghostly flashback that was somewhat melded with the present..

Allison111 says: Aug. 20, 2012

It was cute, but I wouldn’t take anyone under the age of 10 to see this movie.

I am an older sister, my sister being 5, and I recently went to see this with a few friends. With the scary images, violent and sexual references and brief language, I dismissed all thought of taking my sister to see this movie. And it’s a shame too, because it has a nice message of “we shouldn’t outcast people that are different”

Change The Rating says: Aug. 25, 2012

WARNING!!! DO NOT go see the movie!  Please sign the petition to get this movie rating upgraded to “R” as the content is this movie is ESPECIALLY inappropriate for a 13 year old.  Therefore even making this a PG13 would render inaccurate!  Please Sign & Share the petition: says: Sep. 22, 2012

Everyone please know at the end of this movie one of the main characters talks about HIS boyfriend.  Im a live and let live person but did not want to explain to my 6 and 10 year old boys about this yet and especially after a nice afternoon at the movies.  I agree that people shouldnt be mean to people who are different but I wish tv and movies would stop shoving it in my kids face like its normal when it is against our religous beliefs.

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