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ParaNorman - 5/9/2012 4:54:18 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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- 5/9/2012 4:54:18 AM   
nc_jj


Posts: 664
Joined: 20/2/2008
Might sound bold, but I found it as adorable, funny and sophisticated as Coraline. I absolutely loved it. Fantastic, in my opinion!

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Post #: 2
- 11/9/2012 7:02:09 PM   
keaneye

 

Posts: 128
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Dublin
Have to disagree with the reviewer on this. I thought it was a great film. It has plenty of funny moments that keep it ticking along. The animation is great. The witches story has a surprising emotional depth that you don't get with a lot of kids movies and there are some modern twists that I think are very brave. There are loads of subtle horror movie references. I don't like to critique the review itself, but it doesn't really explain the rating very well at all. To give this just 3 stars is a bit harsh and though it's not perfect, I'd have given it 4 stars.

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Post #: 3
RE: - 18/9/2012 12:17:16 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005


Norman is an outsider in his home town of Blithe Hollow and especially at school. He has one great gift; an ability to see and talk to the dead, but nobody believes his ability is real until he makes friends with Neil, a similarly bullied boy but in his case mostly because of his weight. During a rehearsal for a school play commemorating the time when, 300 years ago, the town executed a witch, Norman has a harrowing vision of the town’s past and being pursued as a witch. Afterwards, the boys are confronted by Norman’s estranged and seemingly deranged uncle Mr. Prenderghast, who tells his nephew that the vision is a sign that he soon must take up his regular ritual to protect the town. Norman refuses to take him seriously, but after another vision and his uncle’s sudden death, he realizes he himself has to go into action…….



Quite often it seems that two films of a similar or the same subject matter come out at around the same time. This seemed to reach a peak in the early 90’s where you had two Robin Hood films, two Wyatt Earp films etc. This year it seems that we are going to be treated to not two but three horror-orientated animated films, with not just this particular film but Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie near their release dates. You might expect that the Tim Burton movie would be the one to beat, but it would have a hard time bettering ParaNorman, which I have no bones about saying is easily the best animated film of the year so far, a year that has hardly been a vintage year for animation with the latest offerings from Aardman and Pixar in particular disappointing considerably. Have no fear, this is easily the equal of the same directors’ previous stop motion picture Coraline; in fact, its better.

Right from the opening scene, if you’re a horror fan you should get quite a bit of enjoyment from this movie, with our hero watching a zombie film where the heroine trips over brains and, in a great mickey-take of a horror cliche, just stands there screaming while a flesh-eater slowly shuffles towards her. The story borrows from several typical ‘concepts’ that can be found in many horror films but subverts and twists them, while of course there are many more ‘blatant’ references fans will pick up on, from Night Of The Living Dead to Cannibal Apocalypse, but they don’t jump out at you; if you don’t ‘get’ the references, children and those with little knowledge of horror movies won’t feel they have missed out. Much has been made of this film being too scary for young children, something I think is utter nonsense; they often love being scared, and it’s good for them from time to time. I should also point out that, yes, there’s much Sam Raimi-type slapstick involving severed arms and head and the like, but no blood.

Like Coraline, ParaNorman is a bit slow going at first but there is little doubt that directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell have total control of their story in the scene where Norman walks through the town, accompanied by Jon Brion’s infectious music; the camera goes all the way round him and when we next see things from the point of view of Norman, we see all the ghosts around him, a transition handled with great economy but skilfully manage. Yes, this Norman can see dead people and even talk to them, but the story becomes about far more than that, with zombies, a witch’s curse and terrible events dredged up from the past taking centre stage. The zombies are handled especially well, being both a bit scary and bit funny [especially during their resurrection scene], and the witch is actually rather frightening when depicted as a huge face seemingly made out of clouds. The film is vey original in depicting these elements; for a start, let’s just say that much of the villainous activity is not committed by those you may expect. There are plenty of the expected laughs, the odd one very crude, and I wondered if the film really needed them, but I was glad they were there [there’s a wonderfully yucky gag with a falling corpse] and of course they temper the scary stuff for the kiddies.

ParaNorman is very much a parable about bullying, a subject close to many children’s hearts. There is also good stuff for the young here about how it’s OK to be unpopular, and we are also shown how weak people become aggressive when they’re frightened. The message of tolerance is a very worthwhile one, though there has already been much fuss made about a revelation in the final scene about one character being gay; I don’t have a problem with it considering it is in a film which is rated ‘PG’, which stand for ‘Parental Guidance’. If it had been in a ‘U’ film then I probably would be one of those who take issue with it, but it’s not. Throughout the film, it’s great to see some characters who sometimes reverse our expectations. I especially liked Norman’s older sister Courtney, perfectly voiced by Anna Hendrick, who comes across as the archetypal self-obsessed bimbo but doesn’t finish the film that way. I liked even more that, after giving us plenty of action and excitement, the actual climax of the film involves a simple conversation with a ghost in the past. It’s rather touching and even quite beautiful.

With each film, stop motion seems to be getting better and better and even with the obvious assistance from computers I still think it has an expressive quality which you don’t really get in computer animation. I hope that Focus Features carry on making their films in this manner [though their first animated feature 9, which was purely computer animated, was pretty impressive too]. Some of the minor characters looked suspiciously like folk from other animated films [look out for Woody!], I don’t know if this was intentional or not. I would imagine the latter but I don’t know. One could ask similar questions about Jon Brion’s score, which is very good and is mostly slightly different to what you would normally here, but it has a cue near the end which is clearly modelled on a cue from The Fountain; the fact that the scene in question has somewhat similar yellow visuals made the connection rather too obvious for me!

Some may find the messages are hammered out too unsubtly but this is a kid’s movie after all…albeit one that many adults should thoroughly enjoy too with its edge, lack of sugar-coating and sheer invention…and that especially means horror fans! Need I add that I didn’t see this in that rip-off they call 3D [I'm still smarting from being forced to see Dredd in 3D because the 2D showings are so thin on the ground] and that the 2D version gives all the visual and immersion you could want. Now come on Mr Burton, the challenge is on; beat this!

Rating: 8.5/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to keaneye)
Post #: 4
RE: RE: - 20/9/2012 10:32:08 AM   
Wild about Wilder


Posts: 1655
Joined: 9/4/2010
From: Hertfordshire
Really enjoyed this even though it was a weekday morning showing was surprised there was only myself & 1 other in the screening, I really enjoyed the claymation & think this is what Pirates could've been if they hadn't wimped on slightly more adult humor.
On the whole an enjoyable & for once ORIGINAL! film one for the family though from ages 7 up only I'd say.
8/10

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 5
It'll probably leave its two competitors in the dust... - 21/9/2012 9:27:42 PM   
TheMightyBlackout


Posts: 241
Joined: 28/4/2012
From: Oxford, UK
Paranorman is more charming than any animation I've seen since The Pirates, and they both succeed by making the characters likeable without laying on the schmaltz, and funny without relying on fart jokes.

There are plenty of verbal and visual easter-eggs for grown-up fans of the horror genre. I'm aware that the reasons I thought it was great are the same things that could disappoint the Burtonites. I'd recommend seeing it at the cinema just so you can witness all the model-work in its glory, but in all honesty, you probably won't lose too much by watching in on BluRay.

_____________________________

More reviews and rambling like that ^^^ at: >>>WorldOfBlackout.co.uk <<<

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Post #: 6
RE: ParaNorman - 24/9/2012 5:41:07 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
ParaNorman

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'.

But no this isn't, its completely Burton free and what's more its pretty darn good. Visuals up first of course, what can I say, they look flippin great!. A blend of clay-mation with a hint of CGI in places but in that nice old school way which hasn't been made deliberately perfect. Characters, buildings, backgrounds etc...are not created exactly symmetrical but with a slightly twisted and dare I say...Tim Burton-ish approach (can't get around saying that sorry). Kooky is a good description word here.

The colour palette is also quite nice and offers a bold yet shaded range giving off a cozy comicbook feel. Animation wise its really slick too, smoother than other well known clay-mation films and with great depth in backdrops and vista's, loved the evil looking sky towards the end.

The whole zombie thing is cool and for some reason made me think of 'Thriller', I guess because this film actually has some quite semi scary moments. Usual mix of hocus pocus, curses and regular 'kids film type characters' but big close ups on undead faces, screaming howling zombies, zombie limbs flying off, evil witch forces and the odd small jumpy moment make this more for the older teen viewer. Visuals will entice the kids but the content will be appreciated more by slightly older kids/teens.

The story does turns out to be quite sweet in the end I might add, the finale is quite moving and in a way detracts from what has gone before really. Almost a total swing in mood from horror comedy to nice fairytale bookend.

Lots of nice touches throughout, I really liked how Norman is the only person who can see ghosts around the town. Nothing original there but a nice spooky 'Beetlejuice' 'The Frighteners' flavour, wish we had seen much more of that.

I knew I would like this as the whole concept is right up my alley and I'm sure anyone who enjoyed films like 'Nightmare Before Christmas' 'Corpse Bride' 'Monster House' etc...will enjoy this. Not overly original and characters aren't overly inspired but a fun haunted little ride with some cute lines of comedy and lovely visuals, just wish the ending wasn't so weepy.

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Post #: 7
RE: RE: - 24/9/2012 7:34:19 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

The message of tolerance is a very worthwhile one, though there has already been much fuss made about a revelation in the final scene about one character being gay; I don't have a problem with it considering it is in a film which is rated 'PG', which stand for 'Parental Guidance'. If it had been in a 'U' film then I probably would be one of those who take issue with it, but it's not.


Why? I think that sort of indicates the whole tolerance thing. My son has a friend in his year with two mothers; it's just part of normality. I'm not going to utter those horrific words "as a parent", though: I just feel personally that it's a great move to have such a thing in a kids' film. It's not like it's depicting Brokeback Claymation here...!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs

ParaNorman

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'.


Tim Burton wasn't behind the camera for Nightmare Before Christmas, either... It was Henry Selick. Inevitably somebody has to bring this up every time Nightmare Before Christmas is mentioned because everybody assumes Burton directed it.

Which reminded me of this...

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera
You might expect that the Tim Burton movie would be the one to beat, but it would have a hard time bettering ParaNorman, which I have no bones about saying is easily the best animated film of the year so far, a year that has hardly been a vintage year for animation with the latest offerings from Aardman and Pixar in particular disappointing considerably. Have no fear, this is easily the equal of the same directors’ previous stop motion picture Coraline; in fact, its better.


Neither Sam Fell, Chris Butler (the directors of Paranorman), nor Tim Burton, directed Coraline. It was Henry Selick. Again. It would appear that Selick is destined to never be recognised as the director of his own films!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs
The story does turns out to be quite sweet in the end I might add, the finale is quite moving and in a way detracts from what has gone before really. Almost a total swing in mood from horror comedy to nice fairytale bookend.


The ending enhances what has gone before by its contrast, not detracts from it. After the vivacity and excitement it serves as a sudden removal and eerily quiet and calm moment in much the same way as was done effectively in both The Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows Part II.

I also have to disagree with the idea that it's not original. It has a story which is unusual, but which draws from other horror films as inspiration. It's the difference between plagiarism and homage, and this film nails it.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 8
RE: ParaNorman - 24/9/2012 5:24:19 PM   
Rebel scum


Posts: 3483
Joined: 2/1/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs

The story does turns out to be quite sweet in the end I might add, the finale is quite moving and in a way detracts from what has gone before really. Almost a total swing in mood from horror comedy to nice fairytale bookend.



PARANORMAN SPOILERS

But it worked so well-and the central message of tolerance and not fearing those who are different to you would have been for naught if the witch was defeated by an action sequence. The fact that the curse is lifted not by a loud, showy act of violence but rather by a calm, quiet scene of two characters just talking is both a powerful way to end the movie, a better message to send to the audience, and, once the identity of the witch is known (Another brilliant moment, incidentally), the only way to end it.

It might be a tonal shift, but it's executed brilliantly, built up to and the only logical conclusion of the story (Not to mention a callback to Norman's grandmother's earlier comment of "Why don't they sit down and talk it out?" during the horror movie). For what it's worth, I reckon it's the most powerful scene in an animated film since Toy Story 3.

_____________________________

"We are not safe! A dark menace rises to the east! Duckies go quack! Cows go moo! I want ice cream. Verily, will you two hobbits join my quest?"

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 9
RE: RE: - 24/9/2012 5:25:36 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs

ParaNorman

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'.


Tim Burton wasn't behind the camera for Nightmare Before Christmas, either... It was Henry Selick. Inevitably somebody has to bring this up every time Nightmare Before Christmas is mentioned because everybody assumes Burton directed it.



I know this hence why I said 'it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script'


< Message edited by Phubbs -- 24/9/2012 5:26:17 PM >

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 10
RE: RE: - 24/9/2012 9:13:39 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

The message of tolerance is a very worthwhile one, though there has already been much fuss made about a revelation in the final scene about one character being gay; I don't have a problem with it considering it is in a film which is rated 'PG', which stand for 'Parental Guidance'. If it had been in a 'U' film then I probably would be one of those who take issue with it, but it's not.


Why? I think that sort of indicates the whole tolerance thing. My son has a friend in his year with two mothers; it's just part of normality. I'm not going to utter those horrific words "as a parent", though: I just feel personally that it's a great move to have such a thing in a kids' film. It's not like it's depicting Brokeback Claymation here...!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs

ParaNorman

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'.


Tim Burton wasn't behind the camera for Nightmare Before Christmas, either... It was Henry Selick. Inevitably somebody has to bring this up every time Nightmare Before Christmas is mentioned because everybody assumes Burton directed it.

Which reminded me of this...

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera
You might expect that the Tim Burton movie would be the one to beat, but it would have a hard time bettering ParaNorman, which I have no bones about saying is easily the best animated film of the year so far, a year that has hardly been a vintage year for animation with the latest offerings from Aardman and Pixar in particular disappointing considerably. Have no fear, this is easily the equal of the same directors’ previous stop motion picture Coraline; in fact, its better.


Neither Sam Fell, Chris Butler (the directors of Paranorman), nor Tim Burton, directed Coraline. It was Henry Selick. Again. It would appear that Selick is destined to never be recognised as the director of his own films!



Ha ha I realised my mistake after I posted it, I corrected it on the site I write for but forgot to do it here, whoops! Poor Selick....... and regarding the other issue, I just don't think homosexuality belongs in a 'U. film. I have nothing against homosexuality btw.

< Message edited by Dr Lenera -- 24/9/2012 9:15:32 PM >


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 11
RE: RE: - 24/9/2012 9:16:59 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
quote:

ORIGINAL: Phubbs

ParaNorman

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'.


Tim Burton wasn't behind the camera for Nightmare Before Christmas, either... It was Henry Selick. Inevitably somebody has to bring this up every time Nightmare Before Christmas is mentioned because everybody assumes Burton directed it.



I know this hence why I said 'it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script'



No, your comment italicised again above was clearly referring to Paranorman, implying that actually the afore-mentioned film - The Nightmare Before Christmas - WAS Tim Burton behind the camera and the script. Else why say that at all? Why mention a film that Tim Burton did not direct, to contrast with another film Tim Burton did not direct?

What would make more sense is if you said "Paranorman looks and feels like A Nightmare Before Christmas, and yet amazingly it isn't Henry Selick behind the script or camera!"


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 12
RE: RE: - 24/9/2012 9:19:29 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera
I just don't think homosexuality belongs in a 'U. film. I have nothing against homosexuality btw.


Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating changing Sebastiane to a U certificate (), but the reference as is in Paranorman is perfectly acceptable to me.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 13
RE: RE: - 25/9/2012 4:39:42 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
^^ Well mainly because everybody thinks of Burton the minute you mention 'Nightmare'. Selick directed yes but its Burton's baby all the way technically, actually feel sorry for Selick because of the reasons you pointed out.

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 14
Para-not normal! - 22/2/2013 12:45:49 PM   
themanfromunkle

 

Posts: 29
Joined: 11/10/2005
Awesome film-loved the voice talent and the winks to horror films-(better than Frankenweenie which has only a good last half hour)-if I take anything from this film its the line-'My Boobs!'

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Post #: 15
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