ParaNorman (2012) (4K Ultra HD)

by - December 13th, 2022 - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD

How does the Blu-ray/DVD Disc stack up? (all ratings out of 10.)
  • Movie9
  • Video10
  • Audio10
  • Extras8
  • Overall10


“There’s nothing wrong with being scared, Norman, so long as you don’t let it change who you are.”



Here’s what I wrote about ParaNorman back in my original theatrical review in August of 2012:

ParaNorman (2012) | PHOTO: Laika

“In the town of Blithe Hollow, 11-year-old Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) has a gift. Not that it’s one his parents Sandra (Leslie Mann) and Perry (Jeff Garlin) support, or something that his teenage sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) finds remotely cool. Only the overly enthusiastic Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) approves, the slightly overweight middle school student nearly as friendless as Norman.

And just what is Norman’s gift? He can see and speak with dead people, communicating with their spirits regularly. Matter of fact, he and his grandmother (Elaine Stritch) spend more time together now that she’s a member of the dearly departed than they did when she was alive.

All of this makes the lad an outcast. But when his odd uncle Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman) reveals to him that there is sinister truth behind his gift, Norman is both dubious about his claims yet also curious to learn more. It appears that 300 years prior the town fathers of Blithe Hollow executed a witch, and on the anniversary of her death if those with the gift of speaking to the deceased don’t take action, then those responsible will rise from the grave as zombies and wreak havoc against the town’s current residents.

There is a heck of a lot going on inside the wickedly inspired ParaNorman, the new stop-motion animated marvel directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell and brought to life by the same studio, Laika, that unleashed Coraline back in 2009. Suffice it to say, the dead do rise from the grave, the executed witch is resurrected and it ends up falling to Norman, Neil, Courtney and a small gaggle of their friends to try and save the day. But inside that simple premise lies a story of self, a saga of regret, forgiveness, responsibility and love that took me by surprise, this eerily animated wonder an emotional delight that gets even better as it goes along.

Written by Butler, the narrative has a complexity that never rests on its laurels. Nothing is what it seems, the villains aren’t who you think they are and heroics, while flashy and filled with the requisite eye-popping whiz-bang, are of a more intimately delicate nature than one would normally expect from a story such as this. The foundations of Blithe Hollow’s problems are self-manufactured and birthed out of the fear of the unknown and suspicion of anything out of the norm. The moral of this story is universal and, especially in a heated election season filled with double-speak, specious innuendo and outright lies, everyone everywhere should listen to.

As for the animation, if Coraline looked ravishing just wait until audiences take a gander at this. This is an eye-popping visual marvel, the filmmakers maintaining keen attention to every detail no matter hoe minute. The filmmakers and animators pay homage to everything from George A. Romero, to the glory days of Hammer, to Tim Burton, Vincent Price, James Whale, Sam Raimi and Stuart Gordon. Everything has a picturesque life of its own that’s unique yet also one that still magically echoes numerous old-school horror classics.

ParaNorman (2012) | PHOTO: Laika

The film is decidedly kid-friendly. It is never so scary or too adult to make a parent worry that maybe they’ve erred in purchasing tickets. Norman’s story is one of self-empowerment that everyone, young and old, should take note of, learning to embrace the differences of those around us instead of shunning them hopefully an obtainable societal goal that should be universally agreed upon.

There are minor hiccups, and can’t say I completely bought into the idea Norman would be able to convince the chief architect of all of Blithe Hollow’s travails to forgive the wrongs done to her with such apparent ease. But the movie’s heart is pure, and a few of the climactic images produce more than their fair share of authentic tears. The brains behind ParaNorman have done a magnificent job giving life to their supernaturally entertaining endeavor, and I didn’t even have to eat them to figure that out.”


ParaNorman is presented on a 4K (2160p) Ultra HD disc with a 2.40:1 1080p transfer.


This 4K Ultra HD disc features English Dolby Atmos and English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtracks and includes optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks are also included.


All extras are contained on the Blu-ray included with this release:

Audio Commentary With Writer-Director Chris Butler And Co-Director Sam Fell
Inside LAIKA – Discovering The Characters And Effects Of ParaNorman Featuring Rare Test Footage
Inside LAIKA – Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA’s Animation Team
Feature-Length Storyboards
Character, Concept Art And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery
“Peering Through The Veil”
Original Featurettes

Also included is a 10-page illustrated booklet with an essay by IndieWire Crafts & Animation Editor Bill Desowitz.


Of all of the Laika films that the studio has released since 2009’s Coraline, I think ParaNorman has aged the best. It is the one that I can return to time and time again and find new layers, discover additional items to be amazed by. Its story is timeless and its themes are arguably more resonant now than they were in August 2012. This 4K release of the film is extraordinary and comes highly recommended.

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