Sunday, January 31, 2016

Norm of the North Review

Can something truly be generically awful?

I've been holding off on this review for two specific reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to enjoy my brief vacation and take some time to unwind and not focus on reviewing anything, but another reason why I held off reviewing Norm of the North is because there's nothing about this movie that I even feel like it deserves mention.

Have you ever had one of those moments where after sitting through a movie, without having to justify anything, you form an opinion about it. It's as if you know for a fact something is good or bad and it doesn't require even the slightest bit of effort to justify your opinion. Your largest argument to justify your perspective is to literally force someone to sit down and watch what you just watched, and they'll understand exactly how you felt.

That's Norm of the North. It's a terrible movie that everyone knows is terrible and I don't have to even make a modicum of effort explaining why it is terrible. It just is.

I've seen a lot of bad movies in my life, and several of them have been terrible kids movies. I've seen films like The Nut Job and Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return. I barely gave a mention to the former, while the latter is probably one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life period. So with the spectrum of bad kids movies ranging from generic to wasteful, Norm of the North is so generically bad that it's actually kind of marvelous to watch. I'm not saying that it's so-bad-it's-good, but it's bad in a way that should be studied and examined. It should be shown to film classes to tell them why these decisions were poor ones and why these ideas shouldn't be replicated ever again.

Take for example Rob Schneider. Rob Schneider is not funny. He's painfully boring, annoying, and generally a very poor comedian. Making him the star of your comedic kids movie was never a good idea. If you're taking a C list celebrity that hasn't done anything good in a decade, or if they have, it was because they were involved with other more talented people, then your movie is going to fail.

Then you have the even worse attempts at being "hip" and "cool" with the kids. If you have a twerking polar bear, then you are trying to hard. You see, the fun thing about animation is that it takes a long time to do. During the conceptual stages of a film, a conscious decision has to be made about what scenes should be animated and how the film should be structured. Now, witht hat in mind, the idea of making the polar bear twerk instantly dates itself because when twerking was unfortunately popular, Norm of the North most likely began production with that in mind. However, once the film was released, the fad had died and no one gave a damn about it, making the reference itself dated and feel like it's trying too hard to fit in with what the kids like, but instead looking like a geriatric old man trying to show off to his grandkids that he's cool before he breaks his hip in front of them.

Oh, and we can't forget incredibly forced lines that hopefully the kids will want to say to their friends. Why wouldn't "Caribou-yah!" be something that any kid wants to say?

Then there's the shameless character stealing. The lemmings in this movie are clear ripoffs of the Minions from Despicable Me. Again, these are things that kids like, but instead of making them charming and cute like the original Minions, the film instead has them constantly making pee jokes, poop jokes, random cutaway gags, and fart jokes. Easy low brow comedy maneuvers that don't require charm and effort, but instead just requires kids to know that farts are funny, so let's laugh at farts.

I could harp on the animation, but that's par for the course for a bad kids movie. Companies want to put forward the cheapest possible option to make their money back, so barely anything was spent to make this movie actually look good. With a budget of $18 million, the movie looks cheap. I know that a big budget does not make an instantly successful movie, but you need to have at least some capital in order to turn in a halfway decent product. There is no halfway decent product here. There's just laziness personified.

It's blissfully short, which I still don't know is a good or bad thing, but nothing of consequence happens here. The overall moral of the story, save the Arctic, is about as generic as it comes and feels painfully out of date. If this movie was released in the mid 2000's, then maybe it may ring a bit more true and be somewhat fresh, but it isn't, so once again, Norm of the North continues to fails. But the biggest blow to the film is the fact that, like all bad kids movies, it reeks of being direct to DVD. Most animated features are movies that after you sit through them, you can say "This deserved to be on the big screen." Here, it feels like it was a $5 DVD that was put in theatres to fill a quota. It's film making by accountants and by budget sheets.

I will 100% say that Norm of the North is probably going to be one of the worst movies of the year just based solely on how lifeless, still, mundane, cynical, cheap, outdated, and worthless it is. Nothing of value was gained, nothing of value was lost. I received more stimulation sitting on the coach flipping through channels for five minutes than I ever did during the film's entire run time.

So are we good? I covered this Hollywood sludge. Can I go watch Deadpool and Hail, Caesar! now?


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