Norman Babcock is the main character of Laika’s second animated masterpiece, ParaNorman. Blessed with the ability to speak to the dead, he has a fondness for zombie movies.
Stop motion films inherently possess a distinct charm, and “ParaNorman” beautifully exemplifies this.
Norman emerges as a captivating lead, garnering empathy through his trials and tribulations. While the narrative might not delve profoundly, its delightful essence more than makes up for it.
The film masterfully melds horror with humor, offering a fresh take on familiar tropes. With a consistent record of hits, Laika has once again showcased its prowess with “ParaNorman,” solidifying its reputation as a powerhouse studio.
Norman Babcock Paranorman
Norman Babcock stands out not because he’s the strongest or the bravest, but because he sees and speaks to ghosts. This uncanny ability sets him apart from his peers, making him the subject of ridicule. However, it’s precisely this gift that positions Norman as the key to saving his town from a zombie apocalypse.
Instead of viewing his skill as a curse, ParaNorman showcases it as a gift. Norman’s interactions with these apparitions, particularly his grandmother, provide depth to his character. He represents those who feel out of place, misunderstood, or isolated due to their unique talents or perspectives.
Norman is an inherently kindhearted, deeply empathetic, and genuinely friendly individual. In the film’s early stages, he exhibits a sense of social awkwardness, often choosing solitude over company.
He finds solace primarily in the company of the ghosts that inhabit the town, finding their spectral presence more comforting than the tangible world around him. Distancing himself from both family and peers, many perceived him as an outsider or a freak due to his unique abilities.
However, as the narrative progresses, Norman transforms. He begins to recognize and cherish the value of the genuine connections in his life. This newfound appreciation becomes evident in how he relates to Agatha, teaching her his lessons about valuing those who care about you.
Norman’s special ability, perhaps, fuels his keen interest in the supernatural realm. He has a pronounced fascination with the undead and the macabre. This passion manifests in his daily life, evident in his penchant for zombie films and the myriad of zombie-themed collectibles adorn his room.
Norman and Alvin
When we’re first introduced to Alvin, he’s depicted as a stereotypical school bully, picking on Norman because of his ability to see and speak with ghosts.
He enjoys mocking Norman for his “weirdness” and seems to revel in making his life miserable. This dynamic is an echo of many school experiences where those who are different or misunderstood become targets of ridicule.
As the events of the movie unfold, and the town faces the impending threat of a zombie apocalypse, Norman and Alvin find themselves thrust together. Initially, the alliance seems uneasy at best. However, as they navigate the challenges, the walls between them begin to break down.
Facing dangers together fosters an understanding between the two. Alvin gets a closer look at the weight of responsibility Norman bears because of his abilities.
Norman and Aggie
Initially, Aggie seems to be the antagonist, with her curse threatening the town. But as Norman uncovers more about her story, he (and the audience) begins to see her less as a malevolent witch and more as a hurt, scared child lashing out in pain.
The zombies, the supposed threats, turn out to be the Puritan townsfolk who wronged Aggie. They, in their own way, are seeking closure and redemption.
Norman’s real strength isn’t just in his supernatural abilities, but in his profound empathy. When he finally confronts Aggie, it’s not with aggression or fear but with understanding and compassion.
He reaches out to her, not just as someone with a similar gift, but as a fellow human being who knows the pain of being isolated and misunderstood.
Norman Babcock is a distinctive figure, notably remembered by fans for his spiky brown hair, placing him in the category of memorable spiky haired cartoon characters.
This young boy’s appearance is characterized by his pale complexion, piercing blue eyes, and pronounced thick eyebrows, giving him a unique look that sets him apart from many other animated protagonists.
Throughout “ParaNorman,” Norman’s wardrobe choices offer subtle hints about his character. He’s often seen donning a vibrant red hoodie, which layers atop a muted grey sweater.
The Voice Of ParaNorman: Norman
Kodi Smit-McPhee voices him and has also played Owen in “Let Me In,” Alexander in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Willy in the English version of “Maya the Bee Movie,” Ethan Whyte in “2067”, Keda in “Alpha,” and Nightcrawler in “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Dark Phoenix.” In the movie’s Japanese dub, Hana Takeda provides his voice.
- Perry Babcock (father)
- Sandra Babcock (mother)
- Courtney Babcock(older sister)
- Unnamed Maternal Grandparents
- Unnamed Paternal Grandparents †
- Mr. Prenderghast † (great uncle)
- Mildred Prenderghast (distant ancestor; possibly)
- Aggie Prenderghast (distant relative; possibly)
Sixth Sense: Norman Babcock can see and speak with the dead. This trait sets the stage for the film’s plot and the challenges Norman faces.
Inspiration: Norman’s character was inspired by children who feel out of place or different, similar to many protagonists in young adult stories.
Character Design: Norman’s spiky hair is one of his defining physical traits. It was designed to reflect his quirky and unique nature.
Outfit: Norman’s t-shirt displays a design of a zombie. It’s a subtle nod to his connection with the undead.
Animation Details: The intricate stop-motion animation of “ParaNorman” was a massive undertaking. LAIKA used cutting-edge 3D printing technology to create thousands of facial expressions for Norman and the other characters.