Norm of the North: Charmless, Immaturely Crude & Just Plain Dull
Bill NighyHeather Graham...
In 1 Cinema
Despite its good intentions and solid basic premise – fluffy polar bear travels to New York City to save his home in the arctic – there’s not a lot originality or creativity in Norm of the North.
Directed by first-time filmmaker Trevor Wall, the film follows the story of Norm (voiced by Schneider); a happy-go-lucky polar bear who has become a hit among humans who come to visit the glaciers. Able to speak human and twerk to ‘Arctic Shake’ like nobody’s business, Norm spends most of his days among seals – whom he is unable to hunt and eat out of sympathy – and three particularly cute lemmings. Life is pretty cushy for Norm, though a wise bird named Socrates (voiced by Nighy) becomes suspicious of the increasing of humans infiltrating their home turf.
As it turns out, evil businessman Mr. Greene (Jeong) is slowly beginning to put a plan into action to further exploit the arctic by building houses and condos for humans who wish to settle there, after which Norm decides to travel to New York to find Mr. Greene and put a stop to his plans.
Coming of as lazy and painfully derivative, the story – written by a total of four screenwriters who don’t seem to be bothered too much about ‘borrowing’ their ideas from other animated offerings such as Ice Age or Minions – has very little character or charm to call its own and collapses into a series of disappointing and mediocre turns. So much so, that you might well find yourself asking plenty of questions and there seems to be little logic to the main cruxes of the plot– why anyone would want to move the arctic, for example, is beyond understanding. Suspension of disbelief is a must, of course, but some reason and sense would have gone a long way.
The humour, meanwhile, is very much of the crass variety, involving enough toilet humour to last you a lifetime. As far as the voice work goes, Schneider and co. fail to bring their characters to life, though Nighy is probably the most successful in doing so.
All in all, Norm of the North is one big ball of mess. Uninvolving, unfunny and visually inferior to its peers, this is a straight-to-DVD production at best. How it managed to sneak its way onto the big-screen, we will never know.