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From the makers of Coraline comes the story of Norman, a boy who must use his ability to see and speak with the dead to save his town from a centuries-old curse. In addition to spooky zombies, he’ll also have to take on mysterious ghosts, wily witches and, worst, of all, clueless grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer will soon find his paranormal abilities pushed to their otherworldly limits. Featuring the voice talents of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman, it’s a frightfully funny and magically thrilling adventure for the whole family in eye-popping stop-motion 3D.
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What is Bowling for Movies you might ask - it's a score that I, just your average dude, have come up with to rate and score movies. I gotta lot time on my hands and I watch movies - many MANY movies. Using the latest technology and a mixture of pseudo and quasi science, I have developed a formula (which literally has nothing to do with bowling) to capture the pure essence of Hollywood magic... displayed as a score ranging from 0 to 300. A score of 108 would be a "just ok, not particularly good / bad" movie, where a score of 192 would tell you it was a very good movie. Now, break 200 and you've got something really special. Throw too many "gutterballs" will land you under 100 and well - you get the idea. :]
ParaNorman - we own the Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet copy (we like to have our bases covered HA!)
Movie Explanation (no-there is too much, let me sum up):
A basically normal boy in a positively ordinary small town finds himself to be un-normal and the town in a positively unordinary situation... you see Norman can see and speak with the dead. Yup, that's right he and his shirt size are the same - a medium! As the town readies for its 300th anniversary Norman begins to be haunted by spooky visions making him the butt of the school's jokes and an easy target for the local bully, Alvin. Finding keeping to himself to be less complicated, Norman attempts to be a lone wolf but fortunately the other schoolyard reject, Neil (a perpetual glass-half-full kind of guy, and frankly an inspiration to just being nice fanatics everywhere) befriends him and totally accepts Norman's "quirks". As the story unfolds we learn that Norman isn't the only medium in the family - his "nutty" weird guy uncle has the gift and a dark secret about the local legend of the much celebrated witch's curse. It seems generations of Norman's family have been keeping the dark magic of the witch at bay. When his uncle suddenly dies, Norman must pick up the reins and help the town (which has done nothing but ridicule and make fun of him). Will Norman and his band of misfit friends save the town and remove the curse forever???? Buy or rent this little gem of a flick to find out!
What I loved:
~ What a wonderful blend of artistic expressions - CGI, sure, but also stop motion animation, and get this - they used an emerging technology to make the puppets - 3D printing, how cool is that? The end product is seamless and beautiful.
~ The script was a throw-back to earlier horror flicks and has some genuinely suspenseful and scary parts (a warning to parents with very young children, this might be a little too scary for little ones - we'd watch it first if Little Movie Dude was younger just to make sure it was ok).
~ The 3D effects were well used and blended into the movie completely - I actually forgot it was in 3D as I was totally immersed into Norman's world.
~ Positive messages abound: from Neil's ever-present positive spin and can do attitude, Norman's willingness to let by-gones-be-by-gones to save his home town, Norman's mother who always is the voice of reason and a grade "A" peacekeeper, and a touching moment with his ghost of a grandmother who offers kind words of encouragement in a moment of fear... wonderful!
Hey, if you have a question about this review, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer promptly. I will be leaving more movie reviews with bowling scores so check out my other reviews. Bowling for Movies is in no way affiliated with Amazon nor do I have a website or other business interest - I'm just a dude who watches movies (and dabbles in quasi/pseudo-science) :] Want me to review a movie and score it in an Amazon review - I'd be happy to - if I have it, you'll get it.
Top international reviews
Although we are retired, we are great Animé and Cartoon fans. We loved ‘Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride’ (2005) (see my Review of 14 Dec 2019), which was made under contract by the Oregon-based stop-motion animation studios, LAIKA. LAIKA is owned by Phil Knight, one of the founders of Nike. His son, animator Travis Knight is the CEO, and since 2014, it has concentrated exclusively on feature films. Since the Knights took over the studios, all 5 of LAIKA’s feature films, plus ‘Corpse Bride’, have been nominated for the Best Animated Film OSCAR, and 4 for BAFTAs (of which one, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ directed by Travis Knight, won).
Enjoying ‘Corpse Bride’ so much, led me to investigate the studio’s other films, and thus, to ‘ParaNorman’. What a delight! This 2012 film is superb on every level, and provides 92 minutes of great entertainment and enjoyment.
The cartoon is described as a ‘fantasy comedy horror’, and it is all of those. Older kids will love it, though it’s way too scary for young ones. It offers some genuinely frightening moments and a number of nods, winks and outright homage to a range of ghost, zombie and paranormal works. The fact that some of the most potentially spine-chilling scenes are also the most howlingly funny is by-the-by. And it is very, very funny, truly laugh-out-loud! I laughed till the tears ran!
The film explores a favourite film topic, the Puritans’ persecution of witches in pre-Independence New England. It is set in a small Massachusetts town, where a centuries-old witches curse still remains in place. The depiction of the town and its rural surroundings is quite beautiful; I particularly loved the Records Department in the Town Hall, and the road into town with its hairpin bends. And the characters are equally good, both the living and the dead (in a lovely shade of palest green). The main protagonists are so well drawn: my husband especially loved Alvin, the gormless school bully with his ear plugs; I thought Norman’s sister Courtney was wonderful, drawling on her phone and smitten by hunk Mitch. There are several well-known actors doing the voices, including John Goodman, Casey Affleck and the late Elaine Stritch. Distinguished English actor Bernard Hill voices the 18th Century court judge, Judge Hopkins, and Norman himself is voiced by young Australian star Kodi Smit-McPhee.
LAIKA has managed here to produce a work that has the feel of a genuine horror classic, that is seriously entertaining, and also has its heart, touchingly, very much in the right place.
Well it was a pretty good film, wasn't quite what I was expecting but enjoyed it never the less :) Worth a watch anyways!
But I think that’s a Universal studios problem.