Hit or Miss Trailer Predictions: Norm of the North

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Welcome to Hit or Miss Trailer Predictions. This is a series of first impression articles covering the newest trailers on animated films, and breaking down the good or bad that the trailer offers.

For whatever reason, animation studios want to take that next big leap into making  fully featured films, even if they really, and I mean really, don’t have the man power, talent, technology, writers, or budget to do so. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when you see something like the trailer for Splash Entertainment’s Norm of the North, directed by Trevor Wall, and set to release on January 15th, 2016, what else are you going to think but “boy, this looks terrible” and other probably harsher variations of that same comment? This is probably going to be one of the biggest flops of 2016. Sure, it’s not fair to judge a film entirely on its trailer, but, well, just watch the trailer. Let’s begin!

The Animation

Good gravy, the animation in this film is horrible. It’s cheap, stilted, and the movements of all the characters don’t look natural. I know this is being made by a smaller studio, but that doesn’t excuse it for having bad animation. I don’t think this would be such a big deal if this was straight to DVD, but it’s going to be released in theaters. Yeah, the same format that you see Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda, Frozen, The LEGO Movie, and Shrek 2, apparently needed something that looks like CGI from 1996 in 2016. Even then, if this film did come out during 1996, it still would have looked terrible compared to the original Toy Story. Another big problem with the animation is how none of the voices sync up with the lip movements. It looks like something from an early Godzilla dub.

The Story

Basically, Rob Schneider plays the main character named Norm. Norm is a polar bear that doesn’t want to kill and eat meat, which would pretty much have him die of starvation if this was real life. In this story, humans end up coming to Antarctica. Apparently they want to move there because a corporate sleazebag wants to make one of the coldest parts on earth a living society. It is up to Norm and his three lemmings (lemmings don’t live in Antarctica, by the way) to go to New York and convince the humans not to move there. First off, no one, and I mean, no one wants to move to a frozen wasteland.  You can put as many mini-malls there as you want, no one is realistically going to move there. I shouldn’t have to nitpick the plot elements from a trailer, but I can’t help it!  The set-up for the film bothers me so much because of how boring, soulless, and terrible it all is.  Even more confusing, where the heck did the seagull in the trailer get glasses, and the caribou get a full-on poker table and deck of cards? Why does the bear and his lemming friends who are basically the Penguins from Madagascar need to be dancers in New York? Who is thinking that Antarctica is a great living area? Are people in New York not afraid that a large polar bear is walking around? Why the heck is there an obviously forced environmental message? Again, if I’m picking apart the trailer, that does not bode well for your movie!

Art Direction

The art direction is ugly. It’s so poorly designed that it looks like an unfinished version of the Despicable Me human designs. Nothing looks good, and seems incredibly cheap. Heck, a majority of the terrible-looking GOYA award-winning films that aren’t really that good to begin with, are much better-looking than Norm of the North. Either the studio didn’t have the budget, the technology, or they lacked the talent to make this film attractive.

Humor

Remember how bad the puns/jokes were in The Nut Job? They are comedy gold compared to the jokes that you could catch before they were thrown at you in the trailer. It feels like, once again, the writers thought of the bare minimum of what kids would find funny, instead of having clever writing that you would find in films like Up and Inside Out. I have talked about this before in my Tad the Lost Explorer review, write your films to include everyone! Don’t alienate the adults/teens that are probably taking the children to see this!

Acting Talent

Rob Schneider is the main character. I could just stop there, and I pretty much should, but I can’t. Schneider has never been box office gold. Why did they think that he could be leading role material? Personally, he has never been funny or that great of an actor. I am sure he is a nice guy, and I’m sure he is doing this because of his controversial tweet he made last year that lost him his State Farm gig, but man, he does not have the comedic talent to make this film good. Speaking of other actors, why did famous comedians Gabriel Iglesias and Ken Jeong think this was a good project? Heck, both Iglesias and Jeong are funny and popular individuals. Why not have those two as the main characters?  Though, if we are going to be honest, no actor can save this movie.

Any Cynical Comments?

A trend that we have seen in a lot of bad animated films is where they use a popular but over-played  year-old pop song for marketing. It’s an even bigger sign when you see that the song doesn’t even fit the film’s tone. For this example, the trailer for Norm of the North use Talyor Swift’s Shake it Off. Not only does it not fit, but it makes the film look…confused. Is it an environmental film? Or is it about Norm showing that standing out is okay, and just ignoring what the haters have to say?

Got anything good to say?

Nope. I’ve got nothing good to say about this movie.

Prediction: Miss/Critical/Financial Bomb

Yeah, I have no faith in this film doing anything, but bombing. I wouldn’t have been so harsh if this was a direct-to-DVD film. It still would be terrible as a movie, but at least the poor quality made sense. Sadly, this film is coming to the big screen. This means it needs to be up-to-par with movies I have mentioned throughout this article. Just because you want to be on the big screen doesn’t mean you should be! This film has no right to be in theaters. I can’t believe Liongate, the distributer, thinks this is a film that warrants your time.  I mean, they would think it’s worth your time because they put its release in January, which we all know is the best time to put any movie in theaters (note my sarcasm). Basically, Norm of the North will be the reason why no one goes to theaters in January.

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