Remember the glut of animated movies that came at us during the early days of CG animation? The totally random subject matter? Ants! Robots! Zebras! Fish! Sharks! Bees! You name it, there was probably an animated film based on it.
Thankfully, those days are mostly behind us, and a vast majority of what makes it to the theater these days is actually quite good. We tend to give a lot of love to animation here at GeekDad, but sometimes a film just slips by us for whatever reason. And that’s what happened with Norm of the North, which was released in January of this year and just found its way to Blu-ray and DVD.
The movie focuses on Norm, a polar bear who has the ability to understand and speak “human speech.” According to Rob Schneider, who voices Norm, he “smells a little fishy. But when you get to know him, he’ll still smell a little fishy.”
When a maniacal real-estate developer wants to start building luxury homes in the Arctic, Norm makes the unexpected trip to New York City to stop him. And because he can speak English and walk upright, everyone just assumes he’s a guy in a polar bear costume. Because of course. It’s New York.
Aside from Norm (Rob Schneider), the movie has several great supporting characters, including the brilliant Olympia (Maya Kay) and the insane real-estate executive Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong).
Far and away the highlight of the movie, though, is Socrates, the wisecracking bird voiced by the incomparable Bill Nighy. That guy can do no wrong.
As is par for the course, the movie has some fairly by-the-numbers plot developments, and anyone over the age of 5 can probably see the ending coming after the first 10 minutes. However, it’s mostly harmless fun despite an unfortunate gay “joke” that would’ve been better left on the cutting-room floor. Kids, though, will be entertained by Norm, the lemmings, and the goofy dancing that permeates the movie.
I had a chance to quickly chat with Rob Schneider, and I was curious to know where he thought he’d be today if he’d never been cast in Saturday Night Live. “I think I would have been less type cast as a comic actor.” Despite that, when asked what he hopes his legacy will be and what he wants people to think when they hear his name, he didn’t miss a beat: “To make people laugh hard from their gut.”
The home video release features deleted scenes, a sing-along, a compilation of the movie’s best jokes and one-liners, and a trivia game.