December is gone and all the big blockbusters are starting to settle from the flooded crowds. You know what that means. Time to push the straight to dvd movies into theaters again. Because it worked so well with Strange Magic and everything manufactured from the Weinstein company, right? Believe it or not, this is distributed by the same studio that gave us the grand finale to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Lionsgate. But just like the Weinsteins, their knowledge of special effects isn’t enough to help in their first shot at animated features. Rather than ask wether or not this is worth seeing, I’m going to educate why you shouldn’t see this let alone bring it to mind once this month passes.
Norm (Rob Schneider) is a polar bear that can’t hunt, yet is able to talk to humans (you figure that out). He also twerks in case the movie didn’t painfully brand your brain enough times about it already. He’s outcasted from his family, save his grandpa (Colm Meaney) and a seagull (Bill NIghy). But he finds out that the humans are planning to build condos in the arctic. That’s right, the evil developer wants to make condos in a bellow-zero, frozen wasteland rather than in the bahamas that even his higher up points out later on. So he travels to where every uninspired children’s film leads to, New York City, to stop the developer from destroying his home.
In a time where the arctic is in danger of being drilled for resources, Fox News could easily point out how this is liberal propaganda for our children like they did with The Lorax and Secret World of Arrietty. Fortunately for them, this movie is too stupid even for their accusation. Instead, it feels like a cryogenically frozen early 2000’s corpse of entertainment: trying be “radical” while sticking to a done to death plot and frankensteined pop songs. The worst sin a comedy can commit is NOT make you laugh. And when the crickets that replace the audiences laughter leave, you’re in trouble. To list the clichés of the story would be too kind and the only way to do it justice is to turn it into a drinking game. Every shot is chugged for every cliché. The misunderstood outcast (Drink). The evil developer (Drink). New York City (Drink). The comic relief (Drink). The last minute love interest (Drink). And comedy involving piss, farts, bird crap and even a confusing race joke, “So you think all animals look the same” (PUKE!).
If the story isn’t enough to lose your lunch, then the buffet of unlikeable and (for lack of a adjective) stereotypical characters are. That is if you can even remember them afterwards. Norm is the definition of what studios think animated films are supposed to be: Pop culture spewing, breakdancing characters with celebrity names just to draw in the crowd (more shots for every dancing montage). Heck, Norm himself could eat a portion of the characters that shame him in the beginning. That’s how bad the characters are. Those who aren’t given the painful task of going through the motions of testing every nerve in your existence are pushed to the sidelines. The movie also thinks it’s not enough to just rip off the minions from Despicable Me, but also the penguins from Madagascar. Well congratulations. You get an award for unsuccessfully ripping off two superior comic reliefs.
The animation is possibly the worst even if it’s still the only animated film released. It’s choppy in the movements to the point where it chokes your eyes and it never slows down to let you appreciate the models. Never before has the Arctic nor New York looked so ugly. The Arctic is an unfinished coloring book in how white it is and New York is a bleak toy set in how none of the colors help it breathe life. On top of that, the timing is poorly off in the slapstick not helped by the limited movements. So neither the animators or the viewers come out unscathed. I’d even go so far as to say this is the Bubsy 3D in the animation.
Norm of the North is the disease that works its chills into the month of January in every way on top of being one of the worst animated films of all time. The story is hateable in how overused and mind cringingly tired it is. The animation is hateable in how choppily rushed and sloppily rendered it is. And the characters are hateable in not only how stereotypical they are, but the level of annoying stupidity the bring in every line, every tone and every syllable. It’s really sad when one film can be even worse than the entire catalog of Weinstein efforts in the same field. The only positive is at the very least, this wasn’t desperate enough to be post-converted in 3D. But the only way to sum this movie is hateable, hateable, hateable, hateable, hateable. And for those who say “It’s a kids movie. It’s not supposed to be smart” I encourage you to say that to the adults that brought their young ones and spent their hard earned family time and money on this. I guess for very young kids, it’s a 50/50 chance of enjoyment as my screening wielded different results from the families attending, but it’s so horrible that I’ve gone out of my way to make the rating as large as the image to show how impactful it was in the worst ways. Because if the film didn’t try to leave a positive impact, why should I? Either way, spend your money on Star Wars again, or wait till the end of the month. Because a superior bear will soon return with a vengeance to put this twerking tool of a bear down for good.
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