Just in time for “Zootropolis” to crush it under-hoof, “Norm Of The North” lands in cinemas to give us a timely reminder of just how bad animated movies can be.
When the arctic (the “North” in this case refers to northern Canada) comes under threat from an unscrupulous developer, Norm – a Polar Bear who can inexplicably speak human – must venture to New York to save his home.
With an ill-deserved confidence and an excruciating line in weak puns (‘Caribou-yah!’) “Norm Of The North” feels exactly like someone having watched “Happy Feet” or “Frozen” and reckoned it’s an easy way to make a quick buck. Aimed squarely at the less discerning end of the under-fives market, it still misses its audience by quite some way. The approach is muddled and confusing in terms of the nature of the cutesy anthropomorphic animals, the plot is a barely coherent, jumbled together mess and beyond a deplorable tendency to fall back on Polar Bear twerking whenever the film loses its way (frequently), it has literally no good ideas at all.
The writing is a lazy, clichéd collection of buzz phrases and wannabe catchphrases while the pretty good voice cast are so uninvested in the piece that you can almost hear the cheques being torn out of the book at the end of each line delivery.
You’ll find more arctic wit, wisdom and warmth in a single episode of “Pingu” than this not-good-enough-for-direct-to-DVD-so-how-did-it-get-into-cinemas travesty, and you’ll have a much better time watching that single episode 18 times in a row than spend 90 minutes on this.