This is the second sequel in the span of a mere few months for this series that I've been forced to watch... I freaking qualify!
No, I’m not going to make some sort of wise crack about how Norm of the North 3 got me sick and is trying to kill me. Other movies try murdering me all the time, this one isn’t remotely close. Legitimately though, I am sick. Feeling totally nauseous, tired, achy, sweaty, not pretty. One could imagine that the last thing I want to talk about is Norm of the North 3: King Sized Adventure.
However, I’ve put this review off for a couple days now. It’s about time I power through and try not to make a mess on my laptop. Sexy? I know right?! The main reason I bring up that I’m feeling sick is because if I so happen to come across as more irritated than what might be warranted…it’s because I’m forcing myself to critique a direct-to-video sequel about an annoying talking polar bear that was previously voiced by Rob Schneider and constantly makes me want to punch a child when I’m in an actual good mood. Apologies in advanced.
Talking Schneider Bear movie, Norm of the North, was released… I hated it.
The very first direct-to-video sequel came out… I didn’t like it.
- 'Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom' (2019) Movie Review
The sequel to the block-dudster thud, 2016 'Norm of the North', Norm has to prove once again that he is worthy of being king. All he needs to do is thwart some bank robbers and play some hockey!
The third installment in the Norm of the North franchise was dumped out to the public… I still didn’t like it.
Third Time’s the Charm? Meh.
The statement that I am about to write will likely end up as one of my lifelong regrets, but Norm of the North 3: King Sized Adventure is an “improvement” upon the last two entries. Although, I mean that in the absolute loosest of terms when I say “improvement”. It’s an improvement in the sense that there is finally a three act structure with one complete story, sort of. The animation isn’t downright awful, for a cheap product that was ultimately rushed through the assembly line. The humor isn’t a total full frontal assault on comedy, mainly because there are barely any jokes written at all, resulting in a whole lot of boredom. The morals are still confusingly absent minded and every character remains an idiot, only they don’t make me roll my eyes quite as often as the previous installments. Maybe it’s less of an “improvement” and more of a “trade-off”. Regardless, I would have much rather been doing anything else other than watching yet another Norm of the North movie.
Surprisingly, this one actually has a plot. After a hectic feud between two archaeologists over an ancient Chinese artifact, they both crash land in the arctic, not far from Norm’s kingdom. (I don’t remember their names so bear with me… and no, that’s not a pun) Dr. Good Archaeologist chunks the artifact out of his plane’s window, landing somewhere in an ice cave. Norm comes along to help him out. Not long after, Dr. Bad Archaeologist (Dexter) steals the artifact from their clutches and makes his way to China in order to steal the fortune that the artifact unlocks from a secret Chinese cave. Norm promises to retrieve the artifact and return it to Dr. Good Archaeologist’s grandson. Oh and Norm’s grandfather is also about to get married to a polar bear lady that doesn’t talk and sometimes the movie focuses on Norm’s son organizing the wedding while Norm tries making it back on time. The intensity is overwhelming…
Props to the Writers and Animators
I will say, at the very least, the writers and animators sort of tried and injected some effort into this movie. Comparatively speaking, that’s a lot better than the last sequel from only a few months ago. The animation in this third flick, while nothing great, does seem to have halfway decent animators attempting to do their job and not slack off like before. Especially with the last movie having some of the most terrifying examples of creepy imagery and dead eyes that I had seen in an animated flick in a while. So it was definitely a nice change of pace not dealing with that again for this venture. The writers wrote a story that actually felt as though it were mostly moving along on a single plot, rather than before with the last movie basically being three pilot episodes of a television show that was hastily stitched together to make a “completed” film. Even some of the environment designs and concept art is far more inspired than anything seen in Keys to the Kingdom. Like I said, none of these positives really amount to greatness, but I definitely have to give credit where credit is due. The filmmakers slightly deserved a small amount of merit for their work here, so there. They get a D+.
Read More From Reelrundown
As much as I appreciate there being a story in this third feature, it’s truly sad that I have to practically praise a Norm of the North sequel for even bothering to have a story at all, it’s nothing more than generic. Bad guy steals something, good guy and his whacky sidekicks have to travel a crazy long adventure to get valuable item back. Defeat the baddie. The day is saved. Dance off to end the movie on. Whoopity doodle doo! As simple a kid’s flick plot as that is, somehow the laziness of making it all cohesive barrels straight through the seams.
I’m not going to get into every single detail of the forced writing here, but the only reason Norm even knows about these archaeologists landing nearby is because his son installed an app on his dad’s phone that spots U.F.O.s. Because why wouldn’t he do that? Bad guy Dexter seems to have no way of escaping the arctic because his plane crashed. No worries though since Norm’s friends decided to hurry up to Norm’s kingdom so they could attend his grandfather’s wedding, leaving the helicopter that they arrived in completely open for being commandeered by Dexter. Geniuses. Norm has to make his way onto the helicopter and stop Dexter from getting away with the artifact; turns out that once Norm was onboard, he decided that was the best time to take a nap and allow Dexter to kick his dumbass off the chopper. It’s okay though because there so happened to be a cargo boat located right below! A boat that was seemingly unoccupied by anyone. Conveniently enough, the boat had fish on it so it could result in some super duper hilarity. Because fish are funny, ya see. You may not know it, but fish are the backbone of comedy. Trust me, I’m a fish.
Anyways, as one could imagine, King Sized Kingdom is mostly a string of happy coincidences that turn out well enough for our hero and result in a bare bones story. Any sort of suspense, if anyone wants to call it that, is right out the window because there is never any sense of real danger. Nothing can kill this damn polar bear, nor his demon spawn lemmings for that matter. Seriously, these little things have been crushed and mutilated in dozens of ways over these three movies; they keep going, as though they’re mini-terminators. I just want them dead. Somebody please kill them. I’m begging anyone reading my words, if they work for any of these production companies that produced the picture, torch these unpleasant rodents. For the love of God and all that is holy, I can’t stand another minute with these Minions rip-offs. They’re annoying and grating on my soul every time they pop up on screen. One of the “oh so hilarious” standout scenes with these little monsters are when they’re crushed by a bag of their own vomit… I hate them. I hate them so much! Oh, and I’m not entirely sure, but I think that one visual gag with the lemmings may be racist. Don’t quote me on that for sure, but the gag seemed slightly questionable.
The HA-HA Funny
There is no “ha ha funny” here. Norm of the North movies have no room for comedy. Don’t get me wrong, they make plenty of ‘jokes’. None of which are funny. Sometimes the humor baffles me with sheer confusion. For instance, I mentioned eariler that Norm’s son installed an app on his phone that tracks U.F.O. activity. Somehow, Norm doesn’t know what a phone application is. He knows what a U.F.O. is, he knows what a cell phone is and uses it daily to video chat with his friends, he makes pop culture reference after pop culture reference, he knows how to play hockey, he’s been to New York City on numerous occasions, he knows how to operate aircrafts and speedboats… But the idea of an application downloaded onto his own cell phone is what confuses him? That’s not funny. F*ck off, movie.
Other examples of this movie’s idea of humor is the antagonist parachuting down to what appears to be a safe landing, telegraphing the “sudden” shifts in the wind that lands him into a pile of fish instead. Not only was that a lazy moment of unfunniness, but the dude didn’t even care that he landed in a pile of dead fish. The whole point of a joke like this is to at least have the audience relish in the victim’s misery and we couldn’t even get that much material out of a scene. I swear though, I can pinpoint the very instant that my brain shut down into “not give a crap” mode; when Norm shouts out “Here’s Normmy” as a reference to Jack Nicholson’s line from The Shining… The Shining is one of my all time favorite movies… Norm of the North should NEVER remind me of one of the greatest films ever made while I am stuck for an hour and a half watching this mediocre schlock. NEVER. It’s already bad enough to suffer in watching this junk, but to blatantly spew out a line to make me wish I was watching a masterpiece of horror instead is something you really don’t want to do during your somewhat painfully uninteresting movie. Bad, Norm of the North 3: King Sized Adventure, bad! That’s right, I used your full name so you know you’re in trouble.
In all honesty, it felt as though the writers eased up on trying to write much of any jokes this go around as there were oddly extensive lulls of any joke being uttered at all. Not even bad jokes, there were randomly long stretches where it mostly followed the protagonists going from point A to point B with maybe one idiotic line coming out of Norm’s obnoxious mouth like “if you get thirsty, don’t eat the yellow snow”. Possibly a visual sight gag involving the lemmings from time to time. Or simply the moronic bear falling on his ass for the thousandth time. Then nothingness. As bad as the first two movies were with their humor, at least it was supplying me some sort of content. It was terrible content, but it was content nonetheless. While in this third installment, there’s sheer dead zones where there wasn’t even an intent to make the viewer laugh. Which would be fine if there was something else to supplement the comedy, but there really wasn’t. It was more or less, “okay, now we have to go to this place and do this thing now”. That’s it. So I’m not sure what’s worse; a movie with constant God awful jokes that make my ears bleed or a movie with minimal bad jokes while nothing happens in between and I’m bored to tears. Tough call… So I’ll watch The ‘Burbs instead. Has nothing to do with the subject at hand, it’s just an actual funny movie.
This was a particularly confusing element about the whole movie as it seems to be attempting to incorporate some sort of message about responsibility and being king and not letting power get to one’s head. The problem was that it was completely muddled in whatever it was trying to say. To elaborate a bit more, there is a subplot involving Norm’s son planning his great grandfather’s wedding. During this wacky debacle, Norm temporarily bestows the title of king onto the boy while Norm goes away on his stupid adventure to China. As the story goes along, the more arrogant and power hungry we start witnessing Norm’s son becoming. Making up all these ridiculous rules about how everything should go his way and that everyone should listen to his demands because he is a king. Simultaneously to all that going down, Norm is also making up rules and declaring that things only work the way that he wants because he is a king. Yet somehow we’re supposed to interpret that everything the boy is doing is total ignorance and should be shunned, while everything Norm does is supposedly endearing? It’s a rushed moral that makes zero sense and clearly wasn’t thought out. Especially since all the characters start bullying and harassing the boy towards the end in response to his overbearing personality. Truth be told, it seemed like everything the boy ordered and demanded for the wedding was thoroughly enjoyed by all the family members during the ceremony, so… you’re welcome, d*cks.
From what I understand, the moral of the story is “Don’t let power get to your head, unless you’re Norm, in which case it’s alright. And if you’re not Norm, then you deserve to be ridiculed and humiliated as a failure.” Perfect ideals to teach the kids. Next on the list of morals to teach, I do hope that we can instruct the youngsters how it’s never okay to touch someone inappropriately. Unless you’re in a position of power, then it’s fine! Ooh! After that we can have the class learn all about how murder is wrong, except if you’re wearing a badge, then shoot away! Alright, I’m exaggerating. Despite the silliness that I brought to the topic, it doesn’t take away the fact that movies for younger audiences need to be clear in what they’re trying to teach the kids. If they’re trying to teach anything at all. Close attention must to be paid onto the subtext of a film’s writing, sometimes it can get away from a writer and result in a lesson not meant to be learned. Am I reading too deeply into Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure? No doubt that I am. This is simply a subject that I take personally and would rather see the writer not convolute their own screenplay with morals if they don’t know how to properly interweave them in the first place.
I guarantee that the only reason this wedding subplot even exists is because the runtime of the main plot wouldn’t extend longer than 70 minutes and the filmmakers needed to figure out a way to pad out the movie somehow. Insert secondary character nonsense about a wedding and one of the kids acting like an asshole. Boom! We’ve got ourselves a 90 minute long picture! The subplot barely connects at all to what’s going on with Norm for the majority of the time and only adds to the frustration of the movie’s refusal to end.
It’s not very good. It’s not the worst thing in the world and it is certainly an upgrade compared to the first two, but that doesn’t make it good entertainment. Norm of the North 3 is bland, stand straight-to-video, forgettable fodder that probably no one is aware of existing. The characters are obnoxiously happy or evil, the voice acting is cynically chipper; the animation looks okay and there is a slight effort made in telling a story, it’s unfortunately a standardly boring story. Children deserve better. Adults deserve better. I deserve better. I’m going to watch a hilarious comedy that I grew up watching as a kid and still love to this day, RoboCop. Show your kids RoboCop before ever considering any of the Norm of the North movies. The ‘80s RoboCop, not the PG-13 RoboCop that kind of sucks.