September 30, 2014
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Paranorman
3 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Animated ghost story)

Norman isn't your normal eight year-old boy. He sees ghosts. He lives in Blithe Hollow, where, like Salem, Mass., the town attracts tourists with a witchcraft theme.
There is a curse on the town, and only Norman can release it. He has one overweight friend, Neil, who believes him. Both kids are bullied at school, picking up on the current positive trend in movies to educate kids against bullying.
Amazingly, all of the monsters who appear to Norman, and eventually to others, look like the Big Nazo puppets. They make a lot of noise and chase Norman through the woods and graveyards. Norman's older sister torments him, along with Neil's older brother, eventually being enlisted to stop the zombies from destroying the town.
Besides the messages of anti-bullying and accepting those who are different, there is a ghost uncle who proclaims that "it is OK to be scared as long as you don't let it change who you are."
There is no question that Norman is weird and the movie is weird. The characters are interesting and the kids in the audience laughed long and hard at the weirdness. For us, it seemed like a long hour and a half.
Rated PG, with some scary characters and scenes that might be too much for the little ones.


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