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ParaNorman Blu-ray + DVD Review

Reviewed by on Nov 26, 2012
Rating: 5 Star Rating

ParaNorman the spooky/fun stop motion animation film is out to own! Read the review on Kidzworld.

By: Lynn Barker

He sees dead people but that’s a good thing cuz if 11-year-old Norman doesn’t talk to the dead and break a witch’s spell, zombies will rise and his town will be toast!

Story Goes: Tween Norman Babcock (voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee) is used to going through his odd, daily routine; wake up, say hi to his dead grandma whose ghost hangs out on the family couch and greet all the local ghosts he meets on the way to school. Then, at school, where he is called “AbNorman” by bullies headed by dumb Alvin (Christopher-Mintz-Plasse), he tries to make it through the day. His only friend is another sweet but clueless outcast named Neil (Tucker Albrizzi).

Norman hides from school bulliesNorman hides from school bullies

Norman’s little town has a secret. Although it’s a tourist attraction now for its connection to legends about a witch’s curse, little do visitors know that real evil is kept at bay by Norman’s uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman). Mr. P. can also talk to ghosts and reads passages from a book each year over a witch’s grave to keep her silent and at rest. When Prenderghast drops dead, his ghost makes sure Norman gets the book and tells him he must do the yearly reading or the witch will raise a ghoul-load of zombies to destroy the town!

Norman enters the scary graveyard to read the book aloud but it doesn’t work! Zombies start to rise and it’s up to Norman, his overbearing teen sis Courtney (Anna Kendrick), her jock crush Mitch (Casey Affleck) Neil and even bully Alvin to get to the bottom of why the zombies have risen and how to put them at rest. Will Norman become a hero?

Norman and the gang see a zombieNorman and the gang see a zombie

Special Features:  We got the cool Blu-ray/DVD/ Digital plus Ultraviolent Combo pack.

Preliminary Anamatic Sequences – These are early animation that includes “Walking with Ghosts” a longer version of Norman’s walk to school, “Bromance”, a longer version of Neil and Norman becoming friends and “Missing Ghosts” a sequence including a ton more ghosts in the big graveyard scene.  The directors explain why these were cut or tightened. Fun to check out.

Norman greets grandma ghostNorman greets grandma ghost

Peeking Through the Veil – Is the making-of featurette. It has 9 parts that cover everything from inventing the characters to scouting New England locations to base the small town upon to creating the stop-motion puppets to voice actors at work. You see how all the amazing hand-made work was done in detail. You see actors recording voices and talking about their characters and the filmmakers explain the complicated process of Rapid Prototype machines used to make hundreds of different faces for the puppets.  You’ll learn a lot and have fun doing it with this cool feature.

Animator moves a puppetAnimator moves a puppet

Featurettes – These were made to “sell” the movie but they are all cute and interesting.. Animators talk about how they were all outcasts in school. Now they are all talented craftspeople who wonder “What are the popular kids doing now?”. Hey, they are adults who can still play with dolls and action figures and make money at it!  The filmmakers can relate to Norman being bullied. Maybe you will too. They talk about ghost experiences and you watch someone making a cool, teeny tiny lamp prop for the movie.

Norman has second thoughts about his zombie lampNorman has second thoughts about his zombie lamp

Feature Commentary -  This is the writer/director Chris Butler and director Sam Fell commenting over the film. They have some pretty fun and interesting things to talk about.

In this Blu-ray Combo pack you also get UltraViolet which allows you to store your movies in the Cloud and download them to all your devices (tablets, smartphones, computers, TVs). Enjoy the film anytime, basically anywhere.

Wrapping Up – ParaNorman is the movie where nerds rule and save the day. It’s fun to watch for everyone and especially after you know how it was made. Wow, these people spend a ton of time to get every little detail to work.

Since the film itself is mild spooky/funny fun and this Blu-ray combo pack includes lots of “how they did that” info as well as comments from the actors playing the parts, it is pretty complete and should be in your collection. We like it so 5 stars!

ParaNorman Blu-ray + DVD Review: 5