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YMMV / Norm of the North

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  • Audience-Alienating Premise:
    • The idea of a film where a polar bear has to go on a mission to stop a guy from building houses in the Arctic didn't exactly appeal to many people. Not helping was the fact that a now-unpopular comedian was the voice of the titular polar bear, as well as the bad animation. These factors likely led to the film's financial failure.
    • The sequel, Keys to the Kingdom, got this from its very announcement, and had most people questioning why it even exists in the first place, considering the failure of the first film.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Surprisingly, Rob Schneider as Norm. Some thought that he was actually one of the more tolerable things about the movie, while others can't get past their hatred of the actor. Some people had never even heard of Schneider, but still criticized his performance anyway.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: This movie as a whole has so many examples that it deserves its own list. The most commonly noted example is the scene where Norm's brother puts on a show for the human tourists. It comes out of nowhere, it's never mentioned again, and it only shows us that Norm is looked down on for his dancing (which has already been hammered down on us by this point anyway).
  • Bile Fascination: The only reason those who dared to watch the movie did so was because word-of-mouth was so awful that they had to see it just to understand why.
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  • Cliché Storm: The movie's almost like a hurricane of tropes and clichés from other kids' movies, doing nothing new with them whatsoever. The misunderstood hero, the busy parent, the budding friendship, dance sequences, corporate villains, Toilet Humour, the list is never ending.
  • Creator's Pet: In the sequel, the Lemmings become this thanks to a scene near the beginning where Norm tells them they can't come to New York this time only for them to launch themselves onto the ship anyway. As the Lemmings themselves have had none of the issues that made them scrappies fixed, it feels like their re-inclusion was a deliberate middle finger to the characters' hatedom.
  • Critical Research Failure: After Greene's plan is exposed, he claims that Pablo and the other investors will be contractually obligated to fund the homes regardless. This is not true, as Greene sold the deal under false pretenses, therefore breaching his own requirements of the contract and leaving it null and void as a result. This itself is fraud and would likely land Greene in prison, giving the film's climax even less reason to continue.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: As pointed out by The Mysterious Mr. Enter in the scene where Greene shows up in public, brandishing a tranquilizer gun and intending to use it on Norm, this movie came out in 2016, a year that saw a spate of public shootings.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Someone actually made a Rob Schneider parody video where he was a polar bear, before the movie was even announced.
  • Idiot Plot: As pointed out by The Mysterious Mr. Enter (again), everything in the film only happens because everyone is either an idiot or uses terrible logic that is 100% bound to backfire, making the film's already unoriginal plot even more predictable:
    • Mr. Greene, for some reason, thinks that people would buy homes in the Arctic, which is one of the most desolate and inhospitable places on Earth. They even have an action scene where Norm has to save Vera from an avalanche that happens right next to the condo.
    • Norm, while pretending to be an actor dressed as a polar bear, decides to become the leading man for Greene's failing ad campaign in order to save the Arctic.
      • You'd expect: Norm to put on a really bad publicity stunt to get Greene's already low approval ratings to hit rock bottom.
      • Instead: Norm decides to make it really popular and then say he doesn't support it, which allows Greene to take advantage of him.
  • Memetic Mutation: It's very hard finding a place on the Internet talking about this film without referencing the Rob Schneider parody trailers from South Park.
  • Narm:
    • The film's attempts to give deeper insight into several thoughts and characters (Norm's own version of hunting, he and Olympia being foils to each other, etc) involves the characters spelling it out entirely in words. That's not how Fridge Brilliance works, you guys.
    • Related to the above, when on the boat in the final act, Norm's grandfather praises his grandson, saying that he's found "his own way" of hunting. Norm's inability to hunt, which has not been mentioned since the beginning of the film, has nothing to do whatsoever with his mission to stop Greene.
    • The film's insistence on being hip and current with modern trends is so desperate and blatant that many viewers felt that the film was dated before it was even released.
    • When seeing his approval ratings after Norm fights him at the restaurant, Greene remarks that they are "rising faster than the oceans!". It's almost as if the film is aware that its message of "don't build houses in the Arctic" is total BS and is desperate to still have some kind of merit by mentioning global warming.
    • Norm spells out his plan to stop Greene nearly every time he meets a new main character. No matter which character it is, you always get the impression that Norm is not explaining the plan because the character he's talking to is Too Dumb to Live, but because the writers think that the children watching the film are.
    • The above does not just apply to Norm's plan, though. After finding out about the homes, Norm receives a pep-talk from Elizabeth. Keep in mind, he just got a pep-talk from Socrates less than two minutes beforehand who said nearly word-for-word the exact same thing. Many viewers note that it feels as if the writers were trying far too hard to give Elizabeth something to do besides having Norm's cubs at the end.
    • If you thought Greene couldn't be any more Obviously Evil, he does an over-the-top maniacal laugh when he sees the approval ratings hit their highest point.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Norm is going to be known as "that polar bear who twerks a lot", even though Norm is only seen twerking twice and does much more than that in the film (said twerking was emphasized a lot in the film's ads, though).
    • The movie itself will be this for Splash Entertainment (formerly MoonScoop), as this is currently the company's only project to get released in several theaters, and it backfired horribly.
    • The film's also infamous for having a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for quite some time. Eventually it got bumped to 9% note  but that still made NotN the lowest-scored animated film on Rotten Tomatoes until The Emoji Movie was released the next year.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: If you're part of the rare few who found out about this film thanks to the reviews by Cartoon Palooza and/or Cinematic Excrement, you would know more about Rob Schneider's Twitter tirades where he said things that will not be discussed here than the film itself (in particular a Critical Research Failure-filled tweet about Rep. John Lewis).
  • Snark Bait: The film was absolutely savaged by critics, boasting a goose-egg on Rotten Tomatoes for a long time, and it would have been the first theatrically released animated filmnote  to score this rating on the websitenote . Several reviews have also noted that even children didn't enjoy the film.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Mr. Greene's hyperactive movements are clearly derivative of Chester V from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, but since this film's animation is nowhere near as fluid as that one's, he practically becomes stop motion whenever he does them.
    • The texture used for the polar bears when they get soaked makes them look like plastic.
    • The lemmings do many cartoonish things over the course of the film, mostly derivative from the classic Looney Tunes shorts or the Minions, but when they move, they often look like they're haphazardly stretching the character models.
    • When Norm flips Vera and Mr. Greene upside down, their hair remains in place instead of hanging down.
  • Spiritual Successor: Is this the final evolution of Norman Jewison's cursed production Atuk? If so, good riddance.
  • Squick:
  • Tainted by the Preview: The film's trailer was met with more dislikes than likes overall on YouTube, due to showcasing many of the film's problems, such as its abysmal animation, its constant references to pop culture, and the fact that it stars Rob Schneider. This got to the point that Lionsgate eventually disabled the comments and ratings bar for it.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: AniMat and countless other reviewers have criticized the film for ripping off the Minions from Despicable Me with the Lemmings characters. It was so bad that it got to the point where one reviewer spent a small portion of his video defending the Minions.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Elizabeth, Norm's girlfriend. Norm clearly has a crush on her, and she was also the only character (alongside Socrates) who encouraged him to head to New York City, and believed him about the humans' plans. She could've tagged along with Norm and the two could've had a heartwarming, deep romance subplot. Instead, she's Put on a Bus, and demoted to a Designated Love Interest who exists solely to have Norm's cubs at the end.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The film never explains how Norm and his grandfather acquired their gift to be able to speak to humans. This was one of the few movies to deconstruct feral animals who somehow have the ability to talk to humans, which could've easily led to an interesting backstory further digging into Norm's history. Instead, the movie gives us an Info Dump backstory in the first act explaining Norm's gift, then quickly moves on.
    • The movie could have been improved if they gave a reason why they needed houses in the Arctic, but the only reason we get is that the story demands it.
      • For that matter, why go with houses in the first place? Why not have Mr. Green be an oil tycoon and have him attempting to drill the arctic?
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Though he probably only did it for a quick paycheck, you can tell Ken Jeong is at least trying to have fun with the role of Mr. Greene.
  • Uncanny Valley: A lot of critics have pointed out that the animation is (at best) unpleasant to look at, and that some of the character designs (especially for the humans) are awkward or poorly constructed:
    • The seals in particular look very disturbing in certain shots.
    • Elizabeth is an even better example of this trope, given that she's much less cartoony and stylized than the other characters, and consequently looks a lot creepier than the other polar bears.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The film suffers from the same problems as Foodfight!, since it was clearly aimed and marketed for young children, yet the raunchy humor and writing feel straight out of a PG-13 adult comedy.


Example of: