Norm of the North Reviews
In a Nutshell: This animation from Lionsgate is another tired environmental lecture about how animals are superior and humans are evil.
This is NOT one of those family-friendly films when the parents enjoy it as much as the kids.
Everyone is given talents. Talents should be used to make a positive difference.
"You can make a change. You can find a new way." - Elizabeth (Kate Higgins)
Just because a product says it's "green", doesn't mean it is environmentally-friendly.
"A king always fights for his home."
Things I liked:
Voice talents of the characters include Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Bill Nighy, Gabriel Iglesias, Loretta Devin, and Colm Meaney. They're mostly unmemorable, but Ken Jeong's voice work steals the show.
The little furry animals are supposed to be lemmings. They're almost cute. Did you know that they really do live in the Arctic?
Things I didn't like:
The animation itself is pretty average, certainly not as good as we're used to seeing from Disney or Pixar.
We're told "When confronted by a polar bear, assert your dominance and stand your ground." That's terrible advice. Polar bears are actually very dangerous and vicious.
"There are never problems, only messages from the universe." - Mr. Green (Ken Jeong)
Polar bears killing seas = good. Tourists = bad
There's a negative jab at a "cola company", which is generic enough that Lionsgate can't get sued by Coke.
If the target audience is young children, then there are a lot of big words and concepts that little kids won't understand.
Lines that are supposed to be funny:
"I put the soul in the winter solstice." - Norm
"And the next thing I know I'm twerking in front of a boat of tourists." - Norm
"Twerking?! Have some self-respect, Norm!" - Socrates
"Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer." - Norm
"Well, it's not Macbeth, but it's a job." - costumed bear (Nick Shakoour)
"Vera, get my lawyer. We're going to copyright that roar and make it a ring tone." - Mr. Green
Tips for parents:
The worse profanity you'll hear is "crap".
Lemmings pee in a fish aquarium and on potted plants.
Initial Reaction: A film about Vikings?
Norm: He's Polar Bar voiced by Rob Schneider
Norm is having a good time at the North Pole - wait, he's not. He's a polar bear that can not hunt in order to save his life.
But he does have a gift - he is able to speak with humans. And when a property development company named Greene homes starts building homes in the Artic, Norm has to head off to New York City (the base of operations of Greene Homes) to put a stop to the developer's plans.
Norm is supposed to be your lovable hero, but here he comes across as very bland and forgettable. SCORE: 2
The rest of the cast is just as flat. The main bad guy is there just to make a lot of money, and there's a pair of leading ladies who don't affect the plot very much. SCORE: 2
At 93 minutes, this film is a very short one, but it feels very long because the story gets dragged out. First off, we get scenes where Norm tries to fit in with the Artic life, then there's too many scenes where Norm wanders about New York in a vain attempt to stop Greene Homes. SCORE: 2
This film looks and feels like the sort of film that goes straight to DVD. And there's nothing here to make it stand out. SCORE: 2
There's a scene where the main bad guy tries to shoot Norm with a tranquilizer gun - for a reason I don't get. And I also don't get life in the Artic; are the animals supposed to act like humans or like animals? SCORE: 2
Other Moral Issues
One simple question: Why would ANYONE want to buy a house in the Artic? SCORE: 1
Final Score (out of 60): 11 % Score: 18.33%
Forget about this film - there are much better ones coming later this year.
Hello folks. It's the start of the new year again. That means a lowbrow, cartoon flick is being marketed badly, it's being released in January, and it's being taken down by critics like the Arizona Cardinals were taken down by the Carolina Panthers (a rare football reference). 2014 had this going on with The Nut Job and now here comes Norm of the North (my latest review). Seeing "Norm" today with my two nephews and my niece, I realized that these types of movies are critic proof when it comes to small children. I mean it's a cartoon just like anything else. You put the young tykes in their seats, give them some Skittles, and they stare straight at the screen, transfixed. So parents, just be patient. You can rightfully go see The Revenant next week (ha-ha).
Anyway, as an animated film made by a rookie director (Trevor Wall), Norm of the North is off-putting and unsavory without having an ounce of adult humor. And with a reference to Titanic, a couple of fart jokes, and an assumed PG rating, kids ages 4-8 will still dig it a lot more than their parental units.
Now for kicks-and-giggles, the visual effects in "Norm" are mostly decent with their inspiration obviously coming from any one of the Ice Age movies. It's the human characters however, that look a little old fashioned (I thought I was watching a Def Leppard music video circa 1992). Bottom line: I didn't dislike Norm of the North but a totally mixed review is necessary. When I saw the main trouper (a guileless polar bear voiced by comedian Rob Schneider) doing weird, gyrated dance moves to some cheesy, outdated Muzak, well I pretty much cringed like a mother.
Featuring the voiceover work of Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, and Bill Nighy, being heralded as the first feature-length, animation release from Splash Entertainment, and having its chief protagonist dress up in an outfit prompting him to take a stab at a gay joke (that's what I thought anyway), Norm of the North contains a dance-along-type ending that lets you know that it's strictly for the kiddies. The story begins by chronicling Arctic Circle/carnivorous bear, Norm (Rob Schneider). You see Norm is an Ursus maritimus that can't seem to hunt effectively. He can however, talk to humans and has an animalistic sense of empathy. When Norm gets word of a rich, real estate mogul (Jeong as Mr. Greene) trying to build condos in his Arctic territory, well he becomes distraught, gets on a plane to New York City, and tries to hatch a plan to stop said developer's money hungry plans. Look for a scene where young Norman eats live gills and fins at a sushi bar. Also, look away when his sidekicks (furry creatures called lemmings) urinate in a fish bowl and just about everywhere else. How unsanitary.
All in all, I found Norm of the North to be disposable (to an adult, what animated vehicle isn't) yet not awful. Ninety minutes go by and what's on screen is like every other kid toon, evaporating the moment you leave the theater. Actually, strike that. There is one exception. 1982's The Secret of NIMH is in my mind, four star stuff. Darn it though, they just don't make em' like they used to. Rating: 2 and a half stars.