"ParaNorman" Movie Review
"ParaNorman" Movie Poster
Quote from "Why "ParaNorman and Laika Productions Rocks"
'"ParaNorman" definitely doesn't let down audiences in the regards of being different and unique. The movie is about a boy named Norman who isn't accepted for who he is by his family or his town. No one accepts him because he can speak to the dead and he occasionally has visions.'
Rating for "ParaNorman"
"ParaNorman" Movie Poster
Why "ParaNorman" and Laika Productions Rocks:
Laika Productions is an animation company that deliberately wants to do things differently and uniquely with their films. Which is what I love most about their movies and I'm sure that's how any fan of their movies and commercials feels. Their most well known movie is "Coraline" and they have an upcoming movie titled: "The Boxtrolls" which is going to be in theaters in September 2014. Laika's not as well known movie "ParaNorman" definitely doesn't let down audiences in the regards of being different and unique. The movie is about a boy named Norman who isn't accepted for who he is by his family or his town. No one accepts him because he can speak to the dead and he occasionally has visions. One other boy -Neil- at Norman's school tries to be friends with him because he too knows what it's like to be picked on. Neil is bullied for being obese instead and for having some health problems. Even though Neil is accepting of Norman's gifts Norman is still hesitant to make friends with him since he's used to being rejected even by his own family. His dad and sister are angry at Norman for what they think is him making up talking to the dead for attention and his mom tries to be supportive of Norman and tries to tell the dad it's good for Norman to believe in the afterlife. Norman's only friends happen to be the many ghosts he runs into and his dead grandma who is still lingering at the family's house. So Norman is definitely not the average kid. He's constantly bullied, he has gifts no one else understands, and yet he's a fairly friendly polite kid. He's not interested in ear gauges or break dancing or bullying or whatever all the other boys in his school are doing. I applaud Laika for creating a movie about a character like Norman. There aren't many characters that are like Norman in movies especially concerning children. Often times kids in kid movies are loud and talk like adults, while Norman is refreshingly unique. He's a little soft spoken, but very smart. He doesn't pretend to be something he's not and stays true to himself. Although he gets bullied quite a bit he doesn't stoop to the level of the bullies ever. He realizes it won't change what they are and that he doesn't want to be like them.
After establishing who Norman is the movie starts the plot rolling. The town where Norman lives is where many centuries ago a witch was sentenced to death by the townspeople. Her soul has cursed the ones that sentenced her to come back to life on the day she was killed. Norman is the only person who can speak to the dead, except for his crazy uncle who dies and finds Norman to tell him he must read a book at the witch's grave so she can't unleash her curse. Norman screws up reading the book and is forced to get help from his sister, Neil, Neil's older brother, and one of the bullies at Norman's school to defeat the witch. They get chased by the living dead back into their town. The town begins to riot at the sight of the living dead on their streets. The angry mob is not done in a scary way but in a funny way. While trying to figure out where the witch was buried Norman has a vision that reveals a secret about the witch and reveals why she cursed the town.
The main message in "ParaNorman" without giving too much away for the ending, is bullying is wrong. But also that if someone bullies you you shouldn't be like them. You shouldn't stoop to their level, because that will make you just as bad as them. The other message in "ParaNorman" is be yourself even if everyone else makes fun of you. It doesn't matter if you look different than everyone else, or if you have glasses, or fat, or skinny, or homosexual, or straight, or have health problems, or have different cultural beliefs. In the end anyone that tries to bring you down for being exactly who you are doesn't deserve any respect from you or from anyone else they try to hurt. That is what makes "ParaNorman" something worth it for a kid to see or for anyone of any age group to see.
"ParaNorman" is also known as the first animated kids movie to have an openly homosexual character in it. It's not a main focus, but just briefly mentioned after one of the characters asks one of the other characters out and he says he has a boyfriend. GLAAD awarded Laika Productions an award for this character being a part of their movie, which is pretty cool. Laika's next movie also mentions homosexual relationships in an interlude about families where the dialogue says families come in all shapes and sizes and shows two fathers at one point. Hopefully Laika continues to have couples of the same sex in them to give more of a broad spectrum of what love can mean. It's understandable if some people would wish to avoid this movie based on their beliefs, but in my opinion it doesn't hurt a kid to show them that love takes on many different forms, not just men and women together.
My only issue with "ParaNorman" is at times the story can get confusing. You might need to watch it two times to understand everything that's going on.
This movie is rated PG. It is a pretty good movie for older kids. There was some crude humor but it was minimal. The dead walking around and the witch were a little scary, but not too bad and for the most part they tried to make it funny rather than scary. If your kid liked "Frankenweenie" or "Coraline" they'd likely enjoy seeing "ParaNorman".