HT Schuyler: ParaNorman Quick Review

Posted: September 16, 2012 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Due to the high level of activity and work the end of the summer has brought me, I have had little to no chance to post anything, I can imagine you all have been devastated. So in order to feel like I actually still contribute to the site, I’ve decided to write a quick review of the latest film I’ve seen, ParaNorman. I will try not to make a habit out of these quick reviews, but for meantime, enjoy a brief review of ParaNorman:

Rated PG for scary actions and images, rude humour and mild language.

Directed by: Chris Butler and Sam Fell.

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Tucker Albrizzi, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jeff Garlin, Leslie Mann and John Goodman.

The Plot: Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a young boy who has the supernatural ability to see ghosts. One day his crazy Uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) tells him that he needs to read from a book at the grave site of a witch who was killed 300 years ago in his town or else she will rise and seek vengeance on the town. Norman messes up, and soon the corpses of the jury members who convicted the witch to death rise and start terrorizing the town. Now it’s up to Norman, his friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Neil’s older brother Mitch (Casey Affleck), his older sister (Anna Kendrick) and the school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) to save the day.

The Acting: ParaNorman has a high level of very talented actors to voice the characters, some of which I didn’t even recognize until I saw the credits. Kodi Smit-McPhee voices a very strong protagonist, and his acting brings some amount of charm to the character. Casey Affleck and Tucker Albrizzi play off each other very well, Jeff Garlin plays a good frustrated douche bag dad and Leslie Mann surprisingly plays a very toned down and loving character, which was nice to see. Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are as good as always, and John Goodman is great for his short time on screen.

The Good: Animation is beyond stunning and consistently impressive. There were several scenes that had me in complete awe in their presentation and creativity. The movie has a pretty creative plot, and it flows very well. The story continued to have twists and turns and each one took me by pleasant surprise. Despite it appearing to be a children’s film there is actually quite a bit of dark moments, especially towards the end, and the scary elements are excellent. The plot, animation and just overall animation of the film makes it more than just a basic animated film, but instead a spectacle to be witnessed.

The Bad: The films biggest flaw is that it is very unsure of what it wants to be. On one hand it tries to be a mature movie and doesn’t shy away from dark subject matter and scary situations, but on the other hand the comedy elements are so immature and really unappealing that it feels like a kids movie. Some of the jokes work, but the majority of them fall flat and unfortunately drag the movie down. Another point that bugged me but was more of a wasted potential than a flaw, was that they make a big deal out of the fact that Norman can talk to ghosts, but that element doesn’t really go anywhere, and unfortunately isn’t expanded as much as I would have liked. Either way, those were my two main flaws with the movie that ultimately tainted the overall experience.

The Conclusion: As disappointing as the flaws are, they are not strong enough for me to not highly recommend this movie. The animation alone is worth the price of admission, and if you can get past the few glitches and just enough this as an experience, you’ll hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.


  1. CMrok93 says:

    Great review HT. This flick was a little too slow at times for me, but for the most part kept me entertained with its humor and energetic voice-cast. Especially the little fat kid, who was not only was cute as anything, but also nailed every time he had a funny line.

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