Friday, August 17, 2012

Escape to The Movies: "ParaNorman"

Go see "ParaNorman."

"Intermission" has interview quotes from the directors.


Anonymous said...

OK, after the Podcast and this, you've sold me on the movie. I'll see it this weekend.

Is the 3D worth it?

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I was already looking forward to this and you've cemented it for me...and I don't even like zombie movies.

Also, a reference to The Lady in White? That was filmed pretty much in my back yard! I always liked the movie, but never figured it for anything but a local thing. Kinda awesomely weird to see it here!

KevinCV said...

I'm definitely interested in seeing "ParaNorman". It looks really awesome. I really liked "Coraline", but mostly because I'm a diehard Neil Gaiman fan. Here's hoping I enjoy it as much as you did.

A bit offtopic, but I also love the Bunny thing from "Mario Land 2", but I'm personally waiting for the Cape and/or Hammer Bros. Suit to come back. Hell, even a couple more levels with the sub and plane from the first "Mario Land" would be kick-ass. Especially with a remix of the music that plays during those 2 levels. I'd really love that. :)

Razmere said...

Hold on, last time you got this excited over a movie was Scott Pilgrim.... and THAT came out against the first Expendables movie....



TheAlmightyNarf said...

On the one hand I'm inclined to think of "3d printing" as CGI with a couple extra steps and not true stop-motion. After all, if you've already got the 3d model, why bother with clay models? Either hand craft the figures or don't.

On the other hand, I consider results more important than process, and the results are pretty amazing.

Annoyed Swede said...

Gaah! Stupid swedish cinemas! This is only going to be showed dubbed here! So my choice is wait for DVD release or pirate it! This sucks, I want to see this and I want to give the creators my money but waiting to do that until DVD SUCKS...

Anonymous said...

I feel like if I had seen this movie at age 9, it would be my favorite movie ever but also I would have nightmares about it forever.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people are comparing this review to your Scott Pilgrim review. I watched Scott Pilgrim and I read the comics.

I have never been so angry at a work of fiction in my entire life. Scott Pilgrim is terrible and I hate how much praise it has gotten (mostly by stupid hipsters). If this is anything like Scott Pilgrim, please leave me out of it!

Daniel R said...

Saw it, loved it, gathered up about twelve of my friends, saw it again in 3D.

What a terrific little movie, This might end up being just like Avengers, as in, I might end up re watching this in theaters about 5 times.

I hope you don't mind me spoiling a few small things (In terms of structure and specific shots, not the actual plot of the movie) in my following comments;

Once again, minor-ish SPOILERS BEWARE

I was lucky enough to avoid most trailers for the film, so I was genuinely surprised to see the films 'spin' on the "talks to ghosts" story. Prior to entering the theatre, all I'd known about the film was that it was by LAIKA, it involved zombies and you, Bob, recommended it on Twitter. That scene near the beginning, of Norman walking to school and encountering the ghosts is just about perfect.

Something you didn't mention in the review, the score was soooo good. Always moody and somber exactly when it needed to be.

Looking back, the only thing that I didn't adore was Niel. I just think the plot didn't really use him to his fullest potential. He's comic relief sure, but I don't think his character ever amounted to much in the grand thematic scheme of things. Hell, I'd say even Alvin contributed more in terms of character development, for both Norman and himself.

Also, that last 'twist' near the very end of the film concerning a certain character and which some people might find out of place or maybe even inappropriate (I loved it BTW)
Is that the first time that's been done in a children's film? Is this a milestone?


This summer I went to a filmmaking summer camp (also the reason why I've been mostly absent from commenting on this blog for the past few months) and they had a huge poster for this film in the middle of the hall. At first I dismissed it as a quick, cheap animated flick mad to cash in on the hype generated by other similar films like Hotel Transilvania and Frankenweenie.

God was I wrong.

Oh and, captcha word; Amblin 12

Aiddon said...


If Deadline is anything to go by, Paranorman debuted at #3 yesterday. Just like Scott Pilgrim. Fuck you, moviegoers, FUCK YOU.

Andrew said...

Hmmm...gotta say I was disappointed with Paranorman. But only a lil' bit, and that probably had as much to do with expectations than anything I could legitimately hold against the movie. Then again, I so rarely see new movies these days that without holding expectations, I'm not likely to even see anything.

I do agree that it had a "modest" feel and scope, which gives it some charm, but whenever I think back on the film (I JUST saw it), I keep thinking the same things:

1. It was only sporadically and mildly funny, and it was clearly aiming higher than that. The kids'll probably like the jokes, but anyone older has probably seen them done many times before and can see them coming as I did.

2. It played with horror tropes, but it was never even a little bit scary, which unfortunately meant it more resembled bad horror than good horror. I didn't felt any tension in the film; it felt like we were just supposed to laugh along with the silly antics and not get too invested in the characters or the danger they were supposedly in. What I think would have really helped the film is if they had raised the stakes; not just played it for laughs, but give it an actual horror (comedy) feel, like Shaun of the Dead. But that would certainly have pushed it to PG-13, so I don't think it'd be fair of to hold the movie to a standard it wasn't aiming for. It's a minor quibble.

3. Most important of all, it didn't dig deep enough into the fundamental WHY behind the story's events. I like the source (I liked the character and good Lord, could I identify) but I really, REALLY wanted the movie to spend more time there, dig deeper, get darker, instead of just giving us maybe five minutes of it and a swift, clean resolution that doesn't really change anything. It gave us a tease, but pulled back and wrapped up right when it was really getting good. That's still my favorite part of the movie, but it's also the most frustrating.

Maybe I've seen so many movies that I need a stronger fix whenever a movie delves into motivations, and what didn't work for me would probably work for most others. Paranorman's a movie a kid would really like, but I don't think it successfully transcended that to become something more. I admit, I think I was expecting to be dazzled, and I just wasn't. It was a fun little ride, very competently made, but nothing special. 2.5/4.0 maybe.

And as for the "twist?" at the end, I was disappointed that they played it for a 100% disposable gag. If they were going to introduce that, they should have done it sooner, to give the audience a chance to actually think about it while we are forming an impression of the character and watching them do stuff. Instead, they just made it a joke that changes nothing and means nothing, and I don't know how they intended us to interpret that. Maybe a missed opportunity, maybe just being too scared to "go there". I think I woulda been impressed if they had done that and done it right.

Anonymous said...


I do agree with what your complaints were, but I did find the movie enjoyable. I think my biggest complaint is when they decided to release the movie, I know there is another similar movie opening this Halloween, but I still think there could have been a better date.

Daniel R said...


Honestly, right now, in a mainstream children's movie, I don't see that last gag being any more then just a gag.

Considering a lot of actual 'adult' movies are too afraid to go there, I commend ParaNorman for keeping that in. At the risk of spoiling it, I'll just say I can relate, and I can see why they wouldn't have adressed that in any way more significant then the way they did. It doesn't really change anything but it does re-contextualize some scenes from before in a way I really like.

MovieBob said...




I think Neil's thematic purpose is mainly that he's someone more-or-less in the same boat as Norman whose already managed to learn the two lessons he (Norman) hasn't yet i.e. not to dwell on others' ill-treatment of you and that you can just as easily become a bully yourself. That second part is (deliberately, I think) close to Norman's plea to Agatha at the end.


I think the "last gag" IS a little more than just a joke. It's mainly a "funnier" version of the running "things that aren't what you assume they'd be" theme of the movie, but it also recontextualizes his behavior from earlier (he's not dumb/oblivious to the girl, he just doesn't care) and I think it also explains a little more about Neil i.e. where DID he pick up his very uncharacteristic (for a gradeschooler) "I'm okay, you're okay" outlook?

Josh said...

Thanks for this review Bob!

Also, thanks fellow commentors for almost always going out of your way to provide spoiler alerts!!! I really appreciate that in an online community!