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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2012

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“Paranorman" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-november-2012-paranorman

Synopsis

Norman Babcock is a special young boy who is growing up in the mythical New England town of Blithe Hollow.  What makes Norman so special is that he can speak with ghosts.  His unique talent is a source of ridicule among the other townsfolk and he has become somethig of a loner as a result.  The town's biggest claim to fame revolves around a witch execution that took place 300 years earlier.  The local school kids reenact the execution each year in a sort of witch pageant.  It is during a rehearsal when Norman has a major premonition of scary events yet to unfold.  Now he will be called upon to use his special talents to protect the town from a 300 year old curse.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 33 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman
  • Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Paranorman is the product of the creative minds at Laika Entertainment who also produced films like Coraline and Corpse Bride.  On Paranorman, they have managed to create a unique world of morphed shapes, figures and colors without a single straight or square line to be found.  I was drawn in by the art direction and the stop motion animation.  The story is interesting, but it lacks the heart of Coraline or the satisfying interplay you get with  Corpse Bride.  It does come together nicely at the end and as I mention below, I will very likely use the closing scenes as demo material when I have guests over.  I personally don't think Paranorman is too scary for kids these days.  They get more scary stuff from their video games.  But Paranorman does take death in stride without much reverence.   My final opinion is that this is a strong rental recommendation or one to purchase for the true fan out there.

Technical

This is a high quality video transfer that maintains the film makers' intent to create a dark film by rendering excellent shadow detail and a picture that really pops despite the dark theme.  The colors in this movie are very unique and they take full advantage of HD's expanded color gamut.  The image also has a fine sense of depth on this 2D disc.  All in all, this is a very strong video presentation.  The audio quality is also of reference quality.  The intricate mix spreads through all channels in a natural construct.  While the climactic scene is as good as any other example of a modern day lossless surround mix and it will be one of the selections I'll pull off the shelf to demonstrate my sound system for guests.

Extras

This is the two-disc combo pack that includes the 2D Blu-ray, a DVD, a Digital Copy of the film and a code to unlock Ultraviolet Streaming.  Other Special Features include numerous featurettes "Preliminary Animatic Sequences", "Peering Through the Veil: Go Behind the Scenes To See How This Stunning Stop-Motion Animation was Created" and seven other featurettes on the making of Paranorman.  Also included is a Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Chris Butler and Director Sam Fell.