Movie Review: Norm of the North is as bad as it can possibly get

Movie Review: Norm of the North is as bad as it can possibly get

By ANUBHAV PARSHEERA | | 19 March, 2016
Poster of Norm of the North

Norm of the North

Director: Trevor Wall

Starring: Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Ken jeong

When a housing development company plans on opening a series of condos in the Arctic region, Norm, an affable, twerking, talking polar bear steps in to save the day. He travels to human civilization in order to join the company planning the estate and sabotage all such plans. He also ends up saving his grandfather in the process. 

In other words, a 500 pound or so talking, and dancing polar bear decides to move to New York city, pretends to be an actor in a bear suit,  lives there for a while, raises no eyebrows, saves his grandfather (another talking polar bear), and eventually reaches back home to the Arctic where he is crowned king of the region. Clearly, the premise is more realistic and believable than most of Rob Schneider’s past films.

The allegedly comic actor, Rob Schneider as Norm delivers a commendably average performance, while Heather Graham as Vera is tolerable. Ken Jeong’s Mr Greene, as the bad guy, does a bad job of being bad and makes things worse. Hollywood’s fascination with talking animals has resulted in great movies in the past, most recently in the surprisingly clever Zootopia, but Norm of the North falls flat right from the outset and never really gets back up. It is a tired attempt in a genre which is already overdone.

The target audience for the Trevor Wall directed movie seems to be people who have never seen a movie before, and hence have no reference point for distinguishing  bad from good.

Fun fact: Norm of the North has the distinction of having the worst box office opening for an animated feature film. The sporadic bouts of music and dancing do not help the cause, but one finds it much more tolerable due to being raised on a steady diet of Bollywood.

The target audience for the Trevor Wall directed movie seems to be people who have never seen a movie before, and hence have no reference point for distinguishing  bad from good. Simply put, this is a movie that had no business being made.

As Norm sets out on the noble quest to save his land from encroachment, the viewer embarks on an equally grueling quest to look for a laugh. None are found. With zero laugh out loud moments, one will also find almost no smile out subtly moments. From an over the top and grotesquely featured villain, an annoyingly happy protagonist, to the tiny Arctic lemmings (blatantly modelled after the minions), the movie is a haphazard mashing together of standard animated movie elements. There are no memorable sequences, and nothing you will retain upon exiting the theatre, unless you choose to steal the 3D glasses.

Lackluster writing, average voice over work, and an overt reliance on the physicality of the characters to make up for lack of substance weighs down the film. It could’ve been about the meddling ways of humans, and the very real dangers of global warming but it becomes a 126 minute long series of sequences with little effort at character development. It also unwittingly becomes a cautionary tale for people who decide to go for a movie based on cute-looking animals on large posters outside halls. If a talking bear is what you crave, we recommend waiting a few more weeks for Kung Fu Panda 3 to hit screens.


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