I’m really sorry to do this to you all. But I saw one of the most bizarre animated films released into theaters.
What we have here is a cheap company that finances shit for Nickelodeon (oh yes, I researched this crap, motherfuckers) and employed cheap animation studios from India, Ireland, and China (could not find the company’s website so I can only assume it’s a money laundering corporation) that make direct-to-DVD fluff, that managed to convince Lionsgate to release a film in the howling wastelands that is the January release schedule. This heavy research is to explain where such an odd fucking movie comes from before we go in and gut this poor sucker. Any who, I’m going to attempt to list the plots of this movie, yes plots, with an “S” for “Shit” while I also give you my internal thoughts as each one was thrown at me in italics.
Norm of the North is a polar bear living in the Arctic played by Rob Schneider (shudder) who also cannot find it in his heart to hunt prey, because he feels bad for them. Okay with this movie so far. Then Norm reveals that he felt different from the other polar bears because he could speak to humans and enjoy human dancing. Eh, alright, I’ve heard of dumber ideas. Norm nonetheless feels threatened when his best friend keeps putting on nature spectacles for humans. Uh, what? He feels betrayed when he raises his concerns to his father about humans building condos in the Arctic. Dafuq? To prevent further condos from being built, Norm travels to New York City to become a “spokesbear” for the company building the condos so he has an opportunity to criticize said company. What the hell? Stop this!
The owner of the company (Ken Jeong) is also keeping Norm’s grandfather in the basement of the corporate headquarters. I can’t even… And then Norm’s assisted by a child prodigy who’s trying to get into a more challenging school that Ken Jeong is bribing her mother with admission to by forcing her mother to sell condos in the Arctic. You’re fucking with me, aren’t you? So the little girl helps Norm meet with a Latin investor who was duped by Ken Jeong into funding the Arctic Condos through a shady corruption deal. Yep, you’re definitely fucking with me. So it’s up to Norm to save the day! Bye.
As you can see, this movie is a straight up bukkake of multiple children’s movies ideas shot together so you can’t focus on a single plot. Nothing in the movie makes any damn sense and it really feels a good portion of the run time was spent on characters spouting exposition at each other to keep these various spinning plates up in the air. I initially thought all these ideas were meant to promote some environmentalist message, but the film jumbles that goal spectacularly. It’s established that these condos being built in the Arctic are all “green” somehow and that people would love to live in the Arctic for….reasons.
When the movie isn’t blabbing the plot to you, it tries to entertain kids with situational comedy. This would have been fine if kids weren’t likely lost with the 15 or so plots going on in this movie, but Norm of the North admirably sabotages it’s own efforts by having completely lame visual gags overused from the heyday of Looney Tunes. There’s even an attempt to copy the Minions from Despicable Me with some Arctic lemmings that run around muttering gibberish as they solve certain problems for Norm in “goofy” ways. So none of the physical humor works, so what about the written jokes?
About as tortured as a bad standup cracking kid jokes in a bar filled with redneck bikers. It doesn’t help you have Rob Schneider’s nasally voice serenading you through this 90 minute lobotomy, but then you’re reminded he’s not the worst actor in this movie by Ken Jeong. Holy fuck, this guy seriously tugs my pubic hair with that high-pitched squawk he calls a voice. At one point, Jeong is supposed to be yelling in the background of a scene where two characters are talking, but Jeong wasn’t saying anything. He was literally yelling “BAH AND BLAH, RAB BRAH RAH BLAH, and another thing, RRAR GRAR BLAH!”
So the story is absolute crap; the writing is somehow worse; and the jokes are a steady march into oblivion; so how’s the animation? Straight up lazy. It’s painfully cheap looking in light of animation films coming out this year like Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. You can tell in the trailers for those movies that the studios took the time to render fur on each animal or they made good with a more smooth edge if they felt like being stylish. Norm of the North offers neither with boring, bland character designs for several actors to work into. The animation quality looks and feel like something on Nickelodeon, no scratch that, this is more for Nick Jr. Something so mind-numbingly terrible that you’d have to be an infant or have the mental capacity of an infant to enjoy.
But do you know what is the favorite thing in the world for animators to do? Animate dancing. Seriously, think of every animated movie you’ve seen and think how many of them (besides Pixar) feature a dance scene. And Norm of the North is overloaded with shitty dance moves from the early 1990s. Norm does that stupid spin move then rest on the floor with your chin from the late 1980s like three times in this movie, or it may have been once and I just hallucinated the rest with some of these atrocious dances. The music choice didn’t help with some songs being dug from a strung-out pop singer’s closet next to all the heroin they took to get through the day.
While this movie is bad, and oh boy is it fucking terrible, I did not hate this film.It’s awful, it has no redeeming factors to it, but it didn’t piss me off. Mostly because there’s just nothing there to anger me and the animators appeared to convince themselves they were making something of quality. It’s like a leprous dog trying to entertain you with tricks that he learned, but appendages and limbs keep falling off as he tries to do it. But even with two legs and one ear, he’s still trying to entertain you…and you just want to put the poor little bastard out of his misery.
So I won’t waste any more time on North of the North and deliver the mercy blow, this is…
SOME OL’ BULLSHIT