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ParaNorman | 2012 | PG | - 2.5.3

Animated feature about a boy (voiced by Kodi Smith-McPhee) that can see the dead and interact with them. Along with his friend (voiced by Tucker Abrizzi), he wants to save his New England hometown from an ancient curse and so they must interact with zombies, ghosts, and witches. Also with the voices of Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Elaine Stritch. Directed by Chris Butler & Sam Fell. [1:33]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A shirtless teen boy answers his front door to a teen girl (we see his bare chest and he is wearing a towel around his waist); the teen girl touches his chest and flirts with eye fluttering and pouting. An elementary school boy pinches a teen girl's bottom below screen and she tells him to stop. An elementary school boy flirts with a teen girl by smiling, wiggling his eyebrows and staring at her.
 Adult and teen female characters all wear tight clothing and have very large buttocks. A female police officer is shown with huge breasts and larger buttocks than other females. On a TV screen, one woman wears a short-sleeved blouse and extremely short shorts that show her full legs (we see a young boy staring at her buttocks and leering). A witch on a billboard wears a black one-piece swimming suit that reveals some cleavage and her bare thighs and legs.
 A teen girl asks a teen boy to "hang out" and he tells her that he has a boyfriend and they can all hang out together and watch "chick flicks." We hear that a teen girl walks through the streets without a blouse and wearing only panties; when the girl hears this from a young boy, she blushes and runs off-screen.
 A bully says he'll punch a younger boy in the boobs; the other boy says he does not have any boobs, but when punched he shouts, "Ouch! My boobs!"


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - In a boy's mind we see a room and a drama stage disintegrate and burn away like cinders after a fire: walls melt away to leave him in a dark forest a few times and several ghosts tell the boy to stop a witch's curse that's on the town; back in reality, the boy jumps from a drama stage and yells, "The Dead are coming!" A boy sees and speaks with his dead grandmother, dead neighbors and neighbor pets along with zombies.
 Dozens of ghosts appear as misty figures surrounded by green auras, including a hitman with a rifle and cement covering his shoes, a soldier on a horse and some run-over animals. A puppy appears in two pieces and we see the front half running to the rear to sniff its butt. A dozen zombies are shown with green skin and their arms, hands, feet and an ear fall off and are replaced as they limp back and forth through town, grunting; one has an iron jaw from which its chin flesh has fallen away and is flapping. A boy on a bike stops at a dark forest path, dismounts the bike and trips down some crumbling steps to a dirt path where large tree trunks break and collapse; the boys finds a circle of gravestones from which green zombies arise after a storm sends fingers of lightning into the ground around the graves. A zombie enters a van full of teens and younger kids and tries to grab a youth unsuccessfully, as one of the younger kids pulls off one of the zombies hands and forearms; other zombies slam into the van to try to get inside and some lose a foot or a hand, all of which are reattached later. A teen boy finds a disembodied brain near his car and drop kicks it away off screen.
 A dirty, smelly elderly man suffers three near-death scenes in a street scene in which he coughs, chokes, wheezes and falls down: he goes home and collapses in the prone position; we see his green, misty "soul" lift out of the body and re-enter it, prompting laughter and joy from the revived man; his soul then leaves permanently and visits a young boy, telling the boy to go and take a magic spell book from the dead man's hands, the boy has difficulty pulling the book away, the corpse's head bangs on a table several times, the corpse falls onto the boy and its tongues scrolls out and into the boy's face causing the boy to spit and jump away.
 Men and women in a town gather brooms, rakes, shovels, lit torches, iron knuckles and other weapons and chase zombies to the town hall; people reach in between broken wallboards and try to grab a group of youths inside, unsuccessfully, and a storm cloud picks up a witch's statue and breaks it on the ground.
 In a school bathroom the toilet paper unrolls itself in a stall and turns into wispy ghosts while a dead man's face appears in a toilet bowl and as the ghost emerges, water floods the stalls and a boy thinks it is urine; the ghost shouts for the boy to swear to break a curse, to which the boy replies, "The F-word?" and the ghost says, "No, promise to break the curse!"
 In a forest, a storm and lightning encompass a small tree from which rises the spirit of a little girl who had been hanged, all encased in lightning bolts, a boy argues with her and she sends out bolts of electricity that hit him as she splits into 4 girls and shows him around; many spikes come up out of the ground (no one is harmed), an earthquake splits the ground into floating cliffs until the boy catches the girl's hand and the scene reverts to a boy and a girl in a meadow. A large storm system appears in the sky several times, sending white misty arms and hands down to chase people; the clouds form a screaming monster's face with fiery eyes and mouth and the face chases people while laughing deeply and sending out bolts of lightning.
 In a film on a TV, we see a woman wearing high heels step onto a brain, followed by a zombie breaking through a door to slobber on the woman and chase her out of the house, and both are screaming; a boy watching the screen tells his mom that he is watching sex and violence and his father falls from where he is standing on a stool, unhurt, and yells at the boy to be more normal.
 Inside a house, we see a slug crawling from a doll's nose, and flying insects and spiders crawling down walls and hot water tanks; a large swarm of moths flies from a teddy bear's body and toward the audience and there is broken or overturned furniture, covered in dust. The town hall is old and dirty and we see a large statue of a witch wearing a witch's hat and dress. The school building is old and crumbling, with peeling paint; we see a bully smashing flies onto locker doors. Several scenes show exteriors and interiors of dark, spooky and broken down houses. Posters of zombies, brains and screaming humans cover the walls of a boy's room in several scenes.
 A larger boy at a school harasses an overweight boy and a boy that sees dead people; the bully pushes the two boys, writes foul names on their lockers (Fatty, Freak) and laughs at other kids. A drama teacher yells at her young students repeatedly. Several brief arguments occur between a married couple, among schoolchildren and between a boy and his uncle. A boy throws a stick and accidentally knocks down another boy with it (we see no injuries). A bird flies across the screen with a 6-pack plastic soda ring choking him around the neck.
 A van full of teens and younger kids rolls end-over-end and lands upright in a parking lot, with no one harmed. Cars crash into one another in a busy street (no one is hurt). A boy on a bike runs over another boy that is dancing in the street, but neither boy is harmed.
 A disembodied hand picks a boy's nose and another boy picks his own nose, but we see no debris either time. A boy takes out a large bag of smelly garbage containing fish heads and swarming flies and the scene ends.
 Several members of a court and a little girl (zombies and a ghost respectively) change into humans, and then become waves of green mist that waft off screen and disappear.
 A 5th-grade boy has large rubber rings into his earlobes. A teenager in the neighborhood has a tattoo around one bicep.
 A boy calls a girl ghost a bully for seeking revenge on the court that hanged her for witchcraft and she cries and mascara runs down her face. A boy argues with members of a court (now zombies) and tells them that they are bullies for doing a witch-hunt and execution of an 11-year-old girl. A young boy says that bullies are "the survival of the fittest" and should be accepted as such. A young boy says that he flatulates a lot and has irritable bowel syndrome. A mother and a teen girl continually comment that Dad will have a heart attack or an aneurysm. A boy's father yells at the boy constantly about his speaking with the dead, saying that he'll make the dad look bad. A boy's father mockingly says that the boy is using nonsense items like a Ouija board, magic orbs, etc. We see signs that read "Eat Brains" and zombie-head lamps, zombie slippers and zombie action figures. A police officer says that only police may attack civilians, it's their job. A teen boy says three times to a crowd, "All you do is burn and murder things."


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LANGUAGE 3 - 7 mild scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, (crazy, weird, stupid, freak, fatty, loser, hippie garbage ghoster, goober, useless, weird, old, stinky, dirty, bum, creep, silly, mental case, geekula, geeks, dumb, wiener, nut), stereotypical references to parents, adults, children, dumb jocks, teachers, drama coaches, teen girls, zombies, witches, ghosts, 5 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - An old man knocks over several medication bottles at home and swallows some pills as he wheezes (we cannot read the bottle labels), and a teen boy says that he has never done deltoids in his life (he believes deltoids to be drugs rather than muscles). A man and a woman sit at a table in a restaurant window and hold glasses of wine (they do not drink), a crumpled beer can rolls across a street, and a witch on a billboard holds an alcoholic drink up in the air.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Fantasy, witchcraft and the occult, diversity, bullying, victims, death, an afterlife, ghosts, zombies, curses, witch-hunts, forgiveness, friends.

MESSAGE - Those who do not accept diversity are frightened bullies.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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