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“Norm of the North” may leave parents cold, but kids should get a laugh

“Norm of the North” may leave parents cold, but kids should get a laugh
The good thing about going to the movies with my children is that they tend not to be very discerning about what’s on offer and instead take a lot of pleasure from the cinematic experience itself: large, darkened theater, booming surround sound, cushy folding seats, and, of course, popcorn. Heck, I took them to a screening of a rather dry and highly technical documentary film about space exploration and they still said they enjoyed it, despite the abundance of dialogue between astrophysicists about concepts only PhDs really understand. I had been disappointed to spend the money on the film, but the kids reassured me, “It was great, Mom!”
 
“What did you think? What did you like about it?” I was certain it had all gone over their heads.
 
“Everything,” they replied. “I liked the seats,” added the younger kid.
 
It was therefore not much of a surprise to garner the same response after we watched the new film “Norm of the North,” an animated flick about a clever polar bear with a penchant for dancing and speaking English who, when threatened by the greedy real estate mogul Mr. Greene’s plan to build condos all over the Arctic, ventures from his home in the North down into New York to stop the evil Mr. Greene and save the animals’ wintry habitat. Accompanied by three lemmings–  strangely reminiscent of fuzzy Minions but with an incontinence problem, as they pee often and randomly–Norm stages a plan to stop Mr. Greene’s condo development on Norm’s polar ice sheet.
 
I was confused by the story and overwhelmed at its fast pacing that seemed to favor action over plot, but the kids chuckled at Norm’s modern dance moves set to cloying dance-pop tunes and also enjoyed the lemmings’ frequent farting and peeing, and they chuckled at the other goofy jokes peppered throughout the film. I found myself wondering whether the kids would understand the concept of condo development threatening the Arctic or see the evil in a the corrupt real estate developer character who buys off members of the “Polar Council” to push through his environmentally unsustainable plan to set up prefabricated homes on an ice sheet and is somehow thwarted in the end by the bear Norm’s PR and marketing savvy, but it seemed to matter little: not only mine, but other kids at the screening laughed at the recurrent silly one-liners and farting lemmings. I shook my head in disbelief as I witnessed the intelligent Norm darting across a Manhattan bridge headed against traffic–Norm the bear can speak fluent English and twerk like Miley, but somehow he doesn’t know not to run headlong into oncoming traffic?–but, no matter, the inconsistencies in the story didn’t faze the kids, who reassured me they loved the movie.
 
As we walked out of the theater together, I asked them to recount their favorite parts of Norm of the North.
 
“Everything, Mom,” said my youngest. “The whole thing. It was funny.”
 
I quizzed my older son about the evil condo developer and habitat-threatening themes. “What did you think about building houses in the Arctic?” I asked.
 
“Well, I liked the popcorn,” he responded blithely.
 
Elizabeth Senouci is a software localization engineer, translator, occasional writer, and mom of two boys. She enjoys traveling, running, and sitting on the couch.
 
Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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2 Comments

  1. Very clever! Now, I don’t want to see it but my kids definitely do. 🙂

  2. Yep, this is pretty much what I thought it would be. WE’re going next week and I’m sure my kids will love it.

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