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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Animals > Comedy > CGI > Fantasy > Action > Educational > Cable TV > Norm Of The North (2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/S.T.E.M., Vol. 2: Let's Learn (2016/Nickelodeon compilation DVD)

Norm Of The North (2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/S.T.E.M., Vol. 2: Let's Learn (2016/Nickelodeon compilation DVD)

Picture: B & C+/C+ Sound: B & C+/C+ Extras: C/C- Main Programs: C+

Here's a few new children's titles...

Trevor Wall's CGI-animated Norm Of The North (2015) is a mixed bag of the overdone, silly, too-familiar and a few good moments done decently as Norm is unhappy humans want to build homes in his untouched Arctic homeland, so he goes to New York City with some of his friends to stop it. We've seen much of this idea before (fish... or bear & friends out of water... ice, etc.) but we have seen much worse and some children might find this fun when it is not trying too hard (the jokes of slapping technology quickly together are some of the most annoying) so its an OK 90 minutes, though it could have been more. Voice acting is dine by Rob Schneider (finally found his calling), Heather Graham, Bill Nighy, Zachary Gordon and Ken Jeong.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add a Trivia Game, Music Video, Deleted Scenes and Jokes/One-liners Reel.

S.T.E.M., Vol. 2: Let's Learn (2016) is the newest Nickelodeon compilation of shows meant to be more educational and if it is not as good as a Sesame Street, anything that inspired Science, Tech, Engineering and Math can't be all bad. We get two Blaze, two Paw Patrol, a Dora and two Umizoomi episodes that add up to 144 minutes and are not bad if not exactly sending us to the library for a day of research and development. Not bad and on par with the previous volume.

The only extra is a coloring page on the inside of the sleeve you could xerox for multiple kids to use, even enlarging it, but that's all.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Norm is the clear performance winner here with nice color, detail and depth, but it is not up to the latest CGI films, nor does it need to be by working on the level it can. The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is passable, but no match for the Blu-ray. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the S.T.E.M. shorts are just fine for the most part, though you have slight video noise, aliasing and cross color here and there.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Norm is well dubbed, mixed and presented decently, but is not always reference level, but is better than the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version. Most of the S.T.E.M. programs are also in the same 5.1 format and a little more subtle, but Umizoomi is only here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, though its only so noticeable.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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