Flawless 1080p? ParaNorman on Blu-ray
What unfolds is a race against time as Norman tries to heed the dying words of his outcast uncle who has protected the town from the evil witch every Halloween. Along the way, our hero must enlist the help of his new best friend Neil, who thinks his ability to speak with the dead is “awesome,” his reluctant sister, and a varying cast of skeptics who finally believe that the young boy’s ability is genuine.
There’s a lot to like about this film, especially the main characters and the stop-motion animation. While Pixar has changed the way animated films are made, the days of stop-motion are far from over, and the studio that brought you Coraline delivers a solid and visually stimulating film. The set design and character expressions are mesmerizing, to say the least, and even though the story is a tad uneven, it’s entertaining enough for the entire family to enjoy—as long as your kids don’t get scared too easily by the undead.
Using Canon EOS 5D Mark II SLR cameras, the filmmakers deliver a nearly flawless 1080p video presentation with a stimulating color palette, amazing depth, and a perfect print. Black levels are inky, with rich contrast and shadow detail, and the lighting effects mimic the real world to a tee. Every intricate feature in clothing, characters’ faces, and sets comes through with crystal clarity. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track doesn’t quite equal the visuals, but it’s no slouch in its own right. Stereo spread across the front is wide and expansive, dialogue is clear and distinct, and the sur- round experience features some demo-worthy moments with some intense LFE—especially in the third act.
The sparse supplements feature an audio commentary, a PIP track, and three groups of featurettes that run almost an hour. The first set of featurettes explores the varying aspects of the production from the set design, animation process, casting the voice talent, and how the use of CG was integral to the production. The second grouping focuses on the work and personal lives of the crew and really digs deep into the process of making the props, stage design, and puppets. Finally, there are some preliminary animatic sequences with optional commentary from the directors.
I’m not a huge fan of scary movies, but I’m not sure this one would fall into the horror genre. The interaction among the characters is a lot of fun, and I found myself laughing much more than being scared. Recommended.
Studio: Universal, 2012
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 93 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck