ParaNorman takes place in the New England town of Blithe Hollow. Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an average kid with a special ability, he can speak to the dead. As the anniversary of the town approaches, Norman finds out that a witch has cursed the town and that the dead will return to life unless he can stop them. As the adults ignore him, Norman gains help from his friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Neil’s brother Mitch (Casey Affleck), Norman’s sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), and the local bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), as they try to figure out what the witch wants and how to save the town. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, ParaNorman is an exciting, and visually stunning film, that is sure to please. The film opens on Friday, August 17, 2012. Check the Cineplex website for showtimes.
Trying to review a film for kids can be a bit difficult when you’re an adult. Where an older audience finds faults, kids find fun and excitement. When it was time to review ParaNorman , the monster kid in this reviewer was excited, but it was also a perfect opportunity to get the kids perspective. Together with my two children, Skylar and Trent, we set out to watch ParaNorman and give the readers of Toronto Film Scene the first Big Kid, Little Kid review.
Will – So, who likes ParaNorman ?
Skylar – Yeah! Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah.
Will – Those aren’t words, I can’t type that.
Skylar – I love ParaNorman .
Trent – It was good.
Will – Only good? Didn’t you like it?
Trent – Yup.
Will – I thought you said it was the best movie since Dark Knight Rises ?
Trent – I didn’t say that!
Will – Yeah you did! You said “That movie was as good as Dark Knight Rises .”
Trent – It was.
Will – What was your favourite part?
Skylar – I had two. First was the whole witch part.
Will – At the end?
Skylar – Yeah, that whole part was one of my favourites. I love the animation in it. My second favourite part was when Neil was playing with the dog, with Norman, and he kissed his bum.
Will – What’s your favourite part Trent? The zombies? The dog butt? I liked the ending personally.
Trent – Yeah, the ending was good. The whole movie was just good.
Will – There wasn’t one part you didn’t like?
Trent – Not one part. Actually, the one part I didn’t like was the credits.
Will – Why the credits?
Trent – Because the movie was over.
Will – Did you think it was scary?
Skylar – In certain parts, like the moths in the teddy bear, the really loud jump scares. That scared me.
Trent – I wasn’t scared at all.
Skylar – I didn’t get scared, but I jumped surprisingly.
Trent – You can’t jump, you were sitting.
Will – Her heart jumped.
Skylar – Yeah.
Will – So, who was the coolest character?
Trent – Norman.
Skylar – The witch.
Will – But you don’t see her until the end.
Skylar – I know, but she’s so awesome at the end.
Will – What about the story. Was it a good story?
Skylar – I think they could have added a little more about the zombies. Mainly the movie was about his uncle at the beginning, and the bullies and his grandma’s ghost. It was less about the zombies until you get to the middle.
Will – Well, it was half and half. First ghosts, then zombies.
Trent – I didn’t really care about the story, I just liked the movie.
Skylar – If it doesn’t have a good story, it’s not a good movie. Well, maybe sometimes it’s a good movie without a story.
Will – It could be exciting and maybe the story isn’t important.
(At this point, Trent gets up and goes in the basement to play on the computer.)
Will – You can’t leave, it’s not done yet.
Skylar – I’ll finish the interview. I’ll stay here.
Will – Okay, what else is good about the movie?
Skylar – It was one of the best movies this year.
Will – What movies have you seen this year?
Skylar – Avengers . Avengers and ParaNorman are on the same level. They’re probably the two best movies I’ve seen this year.
Will – That’s the only two movies you’ve seen this year. Well, was it funny?
Skylar – Yes. Especially when [huge spoiler removed].
Will – You can’t tell people about that, that’s the best joke in the movie.
Skylar – But I didn’t tell them who said that.
Will – So, who will like this movie?
Skylar – People who are huge fans of zombies, kids who aren’t afraid of jump scares, and people who like stop motion. If you don’t like those things, you shouldn’t see this movie.
Will – I still think there should have been more monsters. I thought Norman would be like me and he’d like all kinds of monsters, not just zombies.
Skylar – If Norman was like you, he probably wouldn’t go out fighting zombies.
Will – Sure he would! So what would you rate the movie, out of five brains?
Skylar – I’d rate it four and a half brains.
Will – I’ll give it four brains.
Skylar – What made you lose that one brain?
Will – If he liked more monsters, like if his room was full of Frankenstein and Dracula stuff, I’d give it five brains. What do you think Trent would give it.
(From the top of the stairs, I yell down to Trent.)
Will – Trent, how many brains out of five would you give ParaNorman ?
Trent – Five and a half.
Will – You can’t give it more than five brains.
Trent – Four and a half then.