Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick (VOICES)
Release Date: December 13, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
In the comedy thriller, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman, who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul-whisperer bravely summons up all that makes a hero – courage and compassion – as he finds his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Please Note: Shout! Factory provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘ParaNorman’ accompanies Norman, a young boy with a fairly normal life aside from one thing; he can see ghosts and speak to the dead. Therefore when a terrifying curse is unleashed in the small town he calls home and results in the undead rising and walking the earth, who would be better suited than the boy who can speak to the dead to try and find a way to stop the terror before the entire town goes into riot mode and everything becomes even worse than it already is. Now, with the help of some friends and surprising acquaintances, it’s up to Norman and them to find a way to end the curse once and for all.
A unique hybrid of family adventure and gateway horror film in its own right, ‘ParaNorman’ was directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, from a screenplay written by Butler. The film’s noteworthy voice cast includes Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Jodelle Ferland, Tempestt Bledsoe, Alex Borstein, and John Goodman who each do their own part in helping this fun, goofy and zombie-filled animated ride to work as splendidly as it does; still holding up beautifully a decade after its initial release.
‘ParaNorman’ was first released in 2012 and still serves up a wildly enjoyable good time a decade later that’s loaded with thrills, laughs and some truly gorgeous stop-motion animation that is a constant pleasure to behold in itself. The animated feature is a clever hybrid of a mostly family-friendly adventure with all of the heart and fun that tend to accompany them, yet it’s also in many ways a low-key horror film for the whole family (aside perhaps from really young kids). With a largely average kid at its center, yet one that can speak to the dead and filled with everything from a deadly curse, to zombies walking the earth and even the rioting townsfolk that often accompany such tales, it’s all cleverly done without going too crazy and keeping things tame enough that it can work as well for young audiences as it does for adults who enjoy animated fare done right. ‘ParaNorman’ is a great ride that even older audiences who are fond of horror films are almost guaranteed to appreciate and if you’ve never had the pleasure of this one then I would strongly encourage making a point of rectifying that whenever possible.
Courtesy of the folks at LAIKA and Shout! Factory, ‘ParaNorman’ now makes its way home on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever. Sporting an altogether quite marvelous new Ultra High Definition video presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, along with a great new Dolby Atmos soundtrack and hours of great extras to top it all off, it all comes together to provide a spectacular new 4K UHD release that’s worthy of this wonderfully offbeat and gorgeously animated film. The Limited Edition Steelbook release which was sent to me for this review is only even more of a treat thanks to the beautiful original artwork showcased both inside and outside of the case (you can view a beauty shot of the Steelbook packaging at the bottom of this review for a better idea of what to expect). As a whole, this is a wonderful new release and for any dedicated fans of ‘ParaNorman’ who are fully 4K capable and considering a purchase it’s definitely highly recommended!
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘ParaNorman’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, with the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio, from a remaster by LAIKA. The original press announcement mentions some details on the remastering which is included below:
“Coraline and ParaNorman were painstakingly remastered by the team at LAIKA, led by LAIKA CEO (and Kubo and the Two Strings Director) Travis Knight, and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Emerson, who pored over each film shot-by-shot, paying close attention to every last detail and color to present these groundbreaking films in the most dynamic format.”
The video presentation for the 4K release of ‘ParaNorman’ looks stellar as a whole and provides a wonderfully clean, sharp and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish that never falters or disappoints. Offering a clean and richly detailed presentation that keeps everything from characters to backgrounds and other minor tidbits looking immaculate down to each edge and surface within and holding up impressively even during the many darkly lit and heavily populated moments which never result in anything becoming problematic along the way. The Dolby Vision addition only helps everything within to look even more pristine thanks to a delightful color palette that’s paired with deep, rich darks that are free of any crush or other potential troubles. Overall, this is a magnificent Ultra High Definition video presentation that should have fans of this animated masterpiece absolutely thrilled.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a new Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes a perfect complement to the animated fun and thrills onscreen and delivers a clean, crisp and hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the music, creepy effects, plus nature content and even angry mob chanting overtaking the various speakers quite regularly, while always making certain that any additional dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously never become distorted or problematic along the way. Overall, this is a fantastic Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds great throughout and should not disappoint in any way.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘ParaNorman’ features a notable collection of bonus content, the majority of which can be found on the release’s included Blu-ray disc. Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray disc include an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Chris Butler and Director Sam Fell’, while the Blu-ray disc also includes ‘Inside LAIKA: Discovering the Characters and Effects of ParaNorman’ (running approximately 13 minutes in length), along with a look at 6 of the puppets from the film in ‘Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team’ (running approximately 1-2 minutes each). We are also treated to ‘Feature-Length Storyboards’ for the film (running approximately 92 minutes) and the multi-part Featurette ‘Peering Through the Veil: Behind the Scenes of ParaNorman’ (approximately 41 minutes altogether), plus other various promos, Featurettes and fun videos including ‘You Don’t Become A Hero By Being Normal’ (approximately 3 minutes), ‘A Norman Childhood’ (2 minutes), ‘Playing As A Profession’ (2 minutes), ‘Making Norman’ (2 minutes), ‘This Little Light’ (1 minute), ‘Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?’ (2 minutes) and ‘The Zombies of ParaNorman’ (2 minutes). The release also includes the film’s ‘Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes) and ‘Still Galleries’ for ‘Character Art’, ‘Concept Art’ and ‘Behind the Scenes’.
The Limited Edition Steelbook release of ‘ParaNorman’ also features some exclusive and quite beautiful artwork on both the interior and exterior of the case, along with a full color booklet within that includes an essay by Bill Desowitz, the Crafts & Animation Editor of IndieWire.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray disc included in the release and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
‘ParaNorman’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD & Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from LAIKA & Shout! Factory
You can purchase your copy of the ‘ParaNorman 4K UHD Limited Edition Steelbook’ by clicking on the Amazon icon below, or purchase it directly from Shout Factory HERE!
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