The things I do for you people.
The first Norm of the North movie is a largely forgotten animated film that was supposed to go direct-to-video until its studio, Lionsgate, decided that it would be more profitable to release it in theaters. It gained a bit of notoriety by being so awful that it, at one point in time, had a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but eventually suckered a couple of critics into giving it “not the worst thing ever” reviews. It’s about a twerking polar bear who saves the North Pole from a condo development mogul.
That should be the end of the story, but two 45-minute sequels were in development, and they’ve now been combined into one movie with Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom, because people don’t want to buy shorts but will gladly fork over $5 for a 90-minute disaster to put in front of their kids’ eyeballs. Also, it turns out that I will watch this mess, probably because I hate myself.
The first part is more of a direct sequel to the original, and it sees Norm (now voiced by Andrew Toth) getting the key to New York only to immediately be framed for a crime and having to prove his innocence. It features the fantastic sequence in which Norm jumps from one flying helicopter to another directly below him, bypassing the blades directly to land on the tail. The rest is a worse-than-TV-quality Scooby Doo mystery that has nothing else going on.
Part 2 sees Norm and co. have to face off against a fake Scandinavian hockey team in order to stop the nation from stealing ice from the North Pole, basically serving as a re-tread from the original’s environmentally friendly plot. At the very least, this half has themes—the value of teamwork is front and center for most of it, as the team’s best hockey player is also selfish and has to learn to be less selfish. It’s still nowhere close to being good—don’t get me wrong—but at least it has something to instill in the poor children who are subjected to the nightmarish animation and storytelling that’s on display.
Everything that was true of the original is true of its sequel. The writing is abhorrent, the voice acting is laughably bad, the quality of the animation will make you reminisce for the graphics of old Nintendo 64 games—the lack of detail to the models makes you wonder how anyone involved in their creation has a job—and there isn’t an intentional laugh to be had. It’s bereft of thought and effort, and the only reason it’s hard to be as mad about it is because it has rightfully been released directly to video instead of in theaters. The price reduction and smaller screen with which to view those horrid visuals makes it just a tiny bit more of a tolerable experience.
Still, putting two shorts together in hopes of being able to sell it as a feature is a questionable tactic at best and the overall lack of quality—from pretty much every facet of development—leads me to the same conclusion: this is one of the worst animated movies that has been released by a studio and it deserves to be treated as such. Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom is utter trash from start to finish and Lionsgate should be embarrassed to be releasing it.
Conclusion: Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom‘s existence hurts me.
Recommendation: You are a bad person if you subject children to Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom.