Review: Third time not a charm for 'Norm of the North'

Posted June 11,2019 - 02:36 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if Lionsgate got a deal too good to pass up. You know, like buy one Norm of the North, get two free. You have to think that something's up because Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure is the third film in a franchise that debuted in 2016 and the second sequel to be released this year.

And it's only June.

At this rate, we will have at least two more Norm of the North before the end of the year. Brrr. I'm calling a holiday-themed Norm of the North film where Norm helps out Santa and saves Christmas right now. It will most assuredly come out in early December.

In this installment, Norm meets an archaeologist and agrees to help him secure a priceless Chinese artifact that was stolen by his old partner Dexter. Now, Norm and his lemming friends must track Dexter across the world and recover the artifact before it's too late.

Look, I get it. I'm not the target demographic of this franchise and I'm OK with that. The problem is that I did genuinely enjoy the first film and my young son was hooked on Norm. Since then, we've been watching the new films and while he continues to enjoy them, I find my patience waning more and more with each subsequent release.

I really hadn't gotten the bad taste of Keys to the Kingdom out of mouth from February before we were once again bombarded by more Norm. There's a way to create a proper balance in family entertainment between younger and older viewers, but the filmmakers behind the Norm have seemingly lost that ability.

There's a reason that these sequels are being dumped unceremoniously one after the other and that's because they just aren't that good. If Keys to the Kingdom was a step down from the original Norm of the North, King Sized Adventure has fallen into the abyss. It was really that painful to watch. Let's put it this way, the redeeming quality of King Sized Adventure is the fart jokes.

Of course, that being said, my five-year-old son cackled like a hyena throughout the film and his attention was rapt on the continuing adventures of a polar bear out of ice. In King Sized Adventure, the filmmakers (I use that term loosely) opt for more action than the previous movies. There's a real Indiana Jones feel to the film, but at times it is painfully forced - almost to the point of absurdity. Of course, what is truly absurd when you're talking about a talking polar bear that seemingly spends more time in the tropics than in the Arctic Circle.

While it might be admirable to applaud them for expanding Norm's horizons, you really have to question if there are limits at this point. Given the way that the last two films have exponentially increased Norm's adventures, it's almost inevitable that a "Norm in Space" movie will see the light of day at some point. At this rate, sooner rather than later.

And yet, my young son couldn't get enough which I suppose is the point. If you have young ones in your home, you could certainly do far worse than throwing in a Norm of the North movie. Just be prepared to have something else planned to keep your mind stimulated. It will begin to wander quite quickly and if you don't have something else to work on, it will be the longest 90 minutes of your life.

Naturally, as is common with this age group, anything they watch must be immediately repeated again and again ad nauseum. There are far worse entertainment options out there, but if you're expecting something to entertain both you and your kids, then you will be sorely disappointed.

So, if you have a young one that doesn't mind the fact that polar bears can seemingly travel the world at will righting the injustices that they find, then they will probably enjoy Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure. I will give the franchise one iota or props though. Norm's sidekicks in the series have always been Arctic lemmings, which, as the name implies, are found in the Arctic along with polar bears. I keep expecting the more cartoonish penguin to show up in these films, despite being found on the opposite side of the Earth, by the South Pole. So far though, they haven't jumped that shark yet. The key word there is yet.

Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.