for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language
Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Casey Affleck, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tempestt Bledsoe, Alex Borstein, Jodelle Ferland
Release Date/In Theaters
ParaNorman Movie Summary
ParaNorman' is a stop-motion animated feature in 3D, like Coraline. A small town is attacked by zombies and only a misunderstood local boy named Norman, who is able to speak with the dead can save the town.
ParaNorman, not Paranormal, is a cartoon that centers on a similar topic. In this cartoon, Norman must save his town from a centuries old curse. In order to do this he must fight zombies, ghosts, and the worst kind of foe, grown-ups. Norman is a misunderstood boy who can talk to ghosts. This gets him quite a bit of trouble as he tries to save his town from past misdeeds. How much trouble you ask? Let this family guide to the movies tell you.
ParaNorman was rated a PG for scary action, images, thematic elements, rude humor and language. This is a children’s movie, so you have to ask yourself how bad it could be. Right from the beginning, this does not sound like a movie for the very youngest in the family, especially those that are sensitive. Norman’s ghosts are frightening, reminiscent of the whispy scary ghosts in Disney’s haunted mansion. The ghosts and zombies use frightening imagery that might be too scary for the younger ones. The ParaNorman movie would be okay for school-aged children, but not those who are younger. The soundtrack was carefully chosen to compliment the scary images, adding to the fright factor.
Other than the fright factor, which may be enough to dissuade parents from taking their youngest, it is a typical movie about children from 6-9 year old. Other than the rude humor that kids of that age seem to be attracted to, there is a very strong positive theme about being different. Norman is different because of his gift. In the beginning, he is not accepted for who he is, but by the end of the story, he is accepted for all of who he is, including his very unusual gift. This sends a strong positive message about diversity and acceptance of others.
Norman must use his special ability to save the town from the dead being raised and zombies taking over the town. Norman is advised by an elder to not stop being who he is. Norman makes the point that you don’t become a hero by being normal. The overriding theme about accepting oneself for who you are outweighs the rude language and bad jokes in the film. Overall, it conveys a positive message about self-worth and acceptance of one’s unique characteristics. This family movie review feels that this is an appropriate movie for children in the 6-9 year old range, but it might be too scary for the wee ones.
Read more family movie reviews by Parental Guide.