Directed by: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Produced by: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
Screenplay by: Chris Butler
Story by: Arianne Sutner, Stephen Stone
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jodelle Ferland, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Bernard Hill, Elaine Stritch, Tempestt Bledsoe
Music by: Jon Brion
Cinematography: Tristan Oliver
Editing by: Christopher Murrie
Studio: Laika
Distributed by: Focus Features, Universal Pictures (International)
Release date(s): August 3, 2012 (Mexico), August 17, 2012 (United States)
Running time: 92 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $60 million
Box office: $107,139,399

ParaNorman is a 2012 American 3D stop-motion animated comedy horror film produced by LAIKA, distributed by Focus Features and was released on August 17, 2012. The voice cast includes Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Bernard Hill, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jodelle Ferland, Elaine Stritch, and Tucker Albrizzi. It is the first stop-motion film to use a 3D color printer to create character faces, and only the second stop motion film to be shot in 3D.

The film received largely positive reviews, while it was a modest box office success, earning $107 million against its budget of $60 million. The film received nominations for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film.

Plot Edit

In the small town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts, a boy named Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is able to speak with the dead, including his late grandmother (Elaine Stritch) and various ghosts in town. Almost no one believes him and he is isolated emotionally from his family while being ridiculed by his peers.

Norman becomes friends with Neil Downe (Tucker Albrizzi), an overweight boy who is bullied himself and finds Norman a kindred spirit. During rehearsal of a school play commemorating the town's witch execution of three centuries ago, Norman has a vision of the town's past and being pursued as a witch by the town's citizenry. Afterward, the boys are confronted by Norman's estranged and seemingly deranged uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) who tells his nephew that he soon must take up his regular ritual to protect the town. Soon after this encounter, Prenderghast dies.

Norman soon has another vision, creating a public spectacle of himself, which leads to his father (Jeff Garlin) grounding him. His mother (Leslie Mann) tells him that his father's stern manner is because he is afraid for him. The next day, Norman is confronted by the Prenderghast's ghost who tells him that the ritual must be performed with a certain book before sundown that day. Norman sets off to retrieve the book. He then goes to the graves of the five men and two women who were cursed by the witch they condemned, but finds the book is merely a series of fairy tales.

Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a school bully, interferes with the reading until after sundown. A ghostly storm resembling the witch appears in the air while the cursed dead arise and pursue the boys until they meet Norman's sister, Courtney (Anna Kendrick), Neil and his older brother, Mitch (Casey Affleck), who have come to retrieve Norman. The kids are pursued by the zombies into town, but Norman contacts classmate Salma (Hannah Noyes) for help, who tells them to access the Town Hall's archives for the location of the witch's unmarked grave.

As the kids make their way to the Town Hall, the zombies are attacked by the citizenry. During the riot, the kids break into the archives but cannot find the information they need. As the mob moves to attack Town Hall, the witch storm appears and Norman climbs the Hall's tower to read the book, but the witch strikes it with lightning and causes him to fall back down into the archives.

Unconscious, Norman has a dream where he learns that the witch was Agatha Prenderghast (Jodelle Micah Ferland), a little girl of his age who was also a medium. After awakening, Norman encounters the zombies and realizes that all they wanted was to speak with him to ensure he would take up the ritual to minimize the harm of the mistake they made with Agatha.

Norman attempts to help the zombies slip away to have them guide him to Agatha's grave, but are cornered by the mob. Courtney confronts the crowd and convinces them to back off. Judge Hopkins (Bernard Hill) guides Norman's family to the grave in a forest. Before the grave is reached, Agatha's magic separates Norman from the others.

Norman finds the grave and interacts with Agatha in the spirit dimension, determined to stop the cataclysmic tantrum she had been having over the years. She asks him to leave her be, but Norman holds his ground, telling her he understands how she feels as an outcast. Norman endures her assault and eventually convinces her that her vengeance is accomplishing nothing and persuades her to stop. Norman tells her that there must have been someone who was kind to her.

Agatha recalls happy memories with her mother. She is able to find a measure of peace and move on to the afterlife. The storm dissipates, and she and the zombies all fade away. The town cleans up and regards Norman as a hero. At the end, Norman watches a horror film with the ghost of his grandmother, and his family joins him.

Trivia Edit

  • The film was shot using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR Camera. To generate the 3D effects, the camera was mounted on a special rig that would take one shot, then slide to a slightly different viewpoint to take another shot.
  • The film company Laika used 3D printers to generate all of the different faces needed for the characters.
  • During the last few weeks leading up to the film's release, Laika sent 49 packages to 49 people (including Neil Gaiman and Kevin Smith). Each package consisted of a wooden crate from "Blithe Hollow" full of "grave dirt" which recipients had to dig through to unearth a coffin. Inside the coffin was one of the seven cursed zombies, complete with background information and name.
  • Save for Judge Hopkins, the seven cursed zombies are not referred to by name, but they did have names: the aforementioned Judge Hopkins, Eben Hardwick, Thaddeus Blackton, Lemuel Spalding, Amelia Wilcot, Goodie Temper, and Wile London.
  • The story is set in the town of Blithe Hollow, whose name is a mash-up of two other ghost stories: Noel Coward's BLITHE SPIRIT and Washington Irving's THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW.

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