Trevor Wall’s Norm of the North has most certainly drawn in the talent. With actors ranging from Bill Nighy to James Corden, or Rob Schneider to Heather Graham, each lending their indelible vocal talents to the production, it sadly isn’t always representative of an accomplished movie. For the performers have been let down by the jarring animation style, and while taking the budgetary limitations on board, Norm of the North is not the most aesthetically gratifying endeavor you’ll have seen, which proves to be detrimental to the audience’s enjoyment.
Norm (Schneider) is a polar bear with the rare ability to speak to humans – a talent he is regretfully able to put into practise when the mean-spirited Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) threatens to build properties at his Arctic home. Desperately wanting to preserve the wildlife, Norm comes up with an ambitious idea – to travel to New York City, and pretend he’s just an actor wearing a bear mask. Then he will become the face of Mr. Greene’s advertising campaign, all the while taking the organization down from the inside, in making this unethical endeavor completely undesirable to the potential investors. An idea that is as difficult to pull off as it sounds.
Norm travels to the States alongside three adorable lemmings, providing the supposed comedic edge to this otherwise unfunny production. They are sadly emblematic of the film’s distinct lack of originality, as they’re so evidently inspired by the Minions in Despicable Me, or the elves in Rise of the Guardians. The film suffers from having so few jokes land too, and while there’s by no means an obligation for this feature to be funny, given how tirelessly Wall vies to achieve such a reaction, it deems this something of a failure when struggling to evoke any laughter.
On a more positive note, Wall is preaching a positive message to the next generation, and doing so effectively through the art-form that is cinema. Following on from where the likes of Wall-E, The Lorax, and Tomorrowland left off, it’s presenting an ideal to an impressionable crowd, and that’s by no means a bad thing. However, that doesn’t just instantly let this lackluster picture off the hook. While the message is certainly admirable, the finished product is less so.