ParaNorman is a deliciously rich, handcrafted story. Its brief stint in the theater was welcomed by critics and a handful of geeks that dug its nostalgic, 80‘s quality. The story surprises with how far it goes into the cruelty of bullying, restrains itself from being constantly bouncy and cute, and takes on hard subjects without making them into weak characterizations of the real thing.

Now it’s on blu-ray and revving up for Oscar season.

Extra features on most blu-rays can feel like they’re just for filmmakers. Sometimes they’re non-existent. But it’s rare that you get both an excellent movie and extra content that is, at its core, an invitation to a geeky conversation.

The Featurettes…

…seven total, focus on the work and personal lives of the Laika crew. Director Chris Butler goes into intimate detail about how his childhood experiences as a “weirdo” inspired Norman’s story.

The other director, Sam Fell, talks about what it’s like to play every day for his job. Every artist brings energy to their story and work because it’s what they love. That is the essence of us geeks. Passionate, detailed, whole-heartedly involved.

“Peering Through the Veil”

Once you’ve learned a little about Laika and all the amazing artists working there, you get to marvel at what they do and exactly how they put themselves into the weird little tale of ParaNorman.

In nine longer pieces altogether titled “Peering Through the Veil”, they walk through the animation process, interview the amazing voice talent (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse), breakdown the 2D, stop motion, and 3D used for the final sequence, and talk about the world Norman lives in with the strange characters that are his family and friends.

They’re particularly proud of the use of 3D color printing technology to bring the characters to life in greater detail. All in all, they wanted a world that felt like ours. Imperfect. Full of mystery and mundane, side-by-side. A community where we could all live and experience the adventure.

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To: Geek, From: Geek

This movie, and by proxy its blu-ray, is designed for and by everyone who has ANY artistic hobby (sculpting, painting, scrapbooking, knitting, etc.). But it’s also for anyone who geeks out about others who have those talents, and are seen as a bit awkward for it.

The best way to describe the look and feel of this movie is that it’s very “hand made”.  Everything feels touched by an artists hand. Every detail feels like the beginning of a conversation. The geeks at Laika are saying, “Come play with us! Come see the Ghouls and Ghosts, weirdos and average (scary) people and share in the rich childhood adventure of ParaNorman.”

 

How do you express your geeky obsessions? Were you a “Norman?”

 

Nick Adducci

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Nick dreams up visual concepts as a story artist/animator. He's a toothless pyromaniac with a pathological hatred for onions.

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