ParaNorman Movie Review

If you want to watch a fun-filled film, you may be wondering if ParaNorman is a good choice. Is this film any good? 

ParaNorman is a 2012 film made with stop-motion animation. This family has a horror twist while also using comedy, providing an interesting blend of the two genres.

ParaNorman Movie Review

The film centers around Norman Babcock, whose voice is provided by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Norman has the ability to communicate with spirits and ghosts, an ability that is soon put to use to remove an old curse.

Alongside Smit-McPhee, the film stars Bernard Hill, Jodelle Ferland, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, and Tucker Albrizzi. The movie’s directors are Sam Fell and Chris Butler.

Now that you know everything that you should about the film, here’s our review.

Our Review

The Good

ParaNorman’s writing is quite strong. From the fast-paced jokes to the film’s themes, this film has a solidly written script. It can be funny at times while also having some emotional moments. 

Not to mention, the central theme of the film is an interesting and entertaining concept. Norman’s ability to talk to the dead is an ideal starting point for spooky hijinx and leads to the inclusion of witchcraft and zombies. What’s not to love?!

A theme that is particularly noteworthy in this film is bullying. The film is unafraid to discuss bullying and the impact it can have on others, as seen through the effect it has on Norman.

He’s a character that feels very isolated from others, highlighting the tragedy of bullying.

Few animated films can depict such a realistic image of bullying. Not to mention, ParaNorman encourages people to be themselves, which is a very commendable sentiment.

One of the elements of the film that we enjoyed was the horror influences. ParaNorman is far from a traditional horror movie. After all, it’s targeted at kids.

But there are serious horror tines that are comparable to the works of Tim Burton, who iconically adds a touch of creepiness to the majority of his films.

These horror touches allow the film to stand apart from other animated movies. The inclusion of ghosts and zombies makes ParaNorman ideal for people with an interest in horror.

You may even want to watch this movie around Halloween with a bowl of delicious candy. Moreover, we appreciated the inclusion of a scene whereby a character is confirmed to be gay.

This scene not only ties into the themes of the film, namely the negativity of making judgments about others, but also it is a great opportunity for parents to discuss sexuality.

The film’s animation style is also incredibly effective and pairs beautifully with its spooky vibe and narrative. The animation is truly stunning thanks to a combination of stop-motion and a 3D color printer, giving the film a unique aesthetic.

Alongside the brilliant animation and interesting themes, ParaNorman delivers several solid voice acting performances, especially for Smit-McPhee, who gives Norman a voice that’s an ideal blend of innocent and creepy.

It’s understandable that Smit-Mcphee would go on to have a successful career, with films such as The Power of the Dog (2021) and Alpha (2018).

Though his role is small, Jeff Garlin also does wonderful work as Norman’s father, Perry. He portrays the non-believer role sensationally, depicting Perry as a man who is struggling to accept his son’s abilities.

Another cast stand-out is Anna Kendrick, who plays Courtney, Norman’s vapid cheerleader sister.

The Bad

A potential downside that you should be aware of is that this film has quite a lot of mature jokes, such as references to sexual attraction. This limit’s the movie’s appeal, as it might not be appropriate for some younger viewers.

Though the writing is decent, with a few well-written jokes that are sure to make you laugh, it could be a little stronger. A film with such striking visuals deserves a script with more nuance.

Though ParaNorman’s messages are worthwhile, they can be somewhat heavy-handed at times, especially toward the end of the movie.

Other than these small complaints, there isn’t much to complain about ParaNorman.

Should You Watch ParaNorman?

If you’re looking for a fun animated film, ParaNorman is an outstanding option. It’s particularly great for kids and families thanks to its lighthearted comedy and entertaining voice acting.

Even if you are not normally a fan of animation or family films, the use of horror gives this film a unique feel that you may still enjoy.

Just bear in mind that the horror elements may not be suitable for younger children.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed ParaNorman. The story is plenty of fun, as are the charismatic voice performances.

Though this film is aimed at younger audiences and families, it’s still worth a watch if you are just looking for something easy and entertaining.

We give ParaNorman 4 out of 5 stars.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘42 Movie Review‘.

Max Roberts