Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Release Review : Trollhunter


Wait a second ...


... ah, that's better.


The government says there's nothing to worry about -- it's just a problem with bears making trouble in the mountains and forests of Norway. But local hunters don't believe it and neither do a trio of college students who want to find out the truth. Armed with a video camera, they trail a mysterious "poacher", who wants nothing to do with them. However, their persistence lands them straight in the path of the objects of his pursuits: trolls. They soon find themselves documenting every move of this grizzled, unlikely hero - the trollhunter - risking their lives to uncover the secrets of creatures only thought to exist in fairy tales.

When I saw the first images of Trollhunter (or is it Troll Hunter? or TrollHunter?) that hit the net a while back, I was absolutely beside myself with excitement. It looked like it was going to be the most kickass movie ever made (giant trolls!) and once the positive reviews started pouring in, I simply could not wait to check it out. Now that I have, I can totally see where the appeal and love has come from. At the same time though, I can't help but feel like this is one of those movies that's been a little too overhyped around the interwebs. Allow me to elaborate.

Trollhunter is quite unlike anything i've ever seen before, a completely oddball experience that is quite frankly downright otherworldly. And I gotta say, it's amusing. Very amusing. And totally not at all what I expected. It never takes itself seriously and yet presents itself as a pretty damn serious found footage horror flick, which I think just might be a large part of the appeal. I know I just referred to it as a horror flick but it really isn't a horror movie so much as it is a mockumentary, with the humor being the main highlight for me personally. The scenes of the trolls rampaging and ravaging are few and far between and they're never quite scary or brutal so much as they are humorous and whimsical. At times it almost even feels like you're watching something staged by kids in their bedroom playing with mega sized troll action figures that their parents just bought them and in that sense, it's almost hard not to love Trollhunter. Plain and simple, it's fascinating. And utterly wonderfully absurd.

But here's the thing. With the horror elements being put on the backburner in favor of silly humor, Trollhunter still never manages to be all that funny or even all that entertaining, at least on a consistent basis. There are some pretty damn funny moments and it is at times quite engaging and fun to watch, but it just never really gets as fun or as awesome as a movie about giant killer trolls who have a taste for Christian blood should by all means get. In many spots, it's even fairly dull and boring. The movie seems to be kind of torn between being that totally goofball movie (think Syfy original meets Chris Guest) and being a more serious found footage film (think Blair Witch) and it just never completely embodies either, straddling that line and suffering in the process. It's an interesting idea, melding the two different types of movies together, and that mashup does result in some highly amusing material, but something about the movie just feels a bit off, like it's not allowing itself to be as entertaining as it could be. I guess that's just the bottom line here. It's just not as enjoyable to watch as it should be. It failed to captivate me in the way that I fully anticipated being captivated by it.

Though it didn't live up to the movie i've had in my head for the past several months, I must stress that I did enjoy Trollhunter on a much higher level than I enjoy most movies I see, and there's something to be said for that. It's totally unique with some pretty impressive creature effects and a lot of great showcases of beautiful Norwegian scenery and I ultimately feel it's a movie that should probably be seen by everyone reading this right now. I can almost guarantee you it'll be one of the most interesting movie watching experiences you'll have this year. All in all, I can't say it's not another win for Magnet Releasing.


RobocopsSadSide said...

Worry, sorry to hear it wasn't quite as enthralling as what you expected, but at the same time, I'm happy you still really liked it.

I for one loved it and never found it boring, as I really dug on the characters, their interaction as well as the scenery presented. Easily one of the best pictures I've seen this year, and definitely my favorite of the whole "found footage" thing.

For a budget of $3 million, I think it rivals a lot of Hollywood films that use double and double and double and so on that amount of money.

I read a lot of reviews, but try my best not to buy into hype. Afterall, hype doesn't realistically determine whether a movie is good or if it's crap.

Barry Goodall said...

I was pleasantly surprised by this film and I agree it does drag it parts but as an overall experience film it offers finally something unique. The legends of the different types of trolls and how to combat them was very clever. It at times felt like "Behind the Mask" meets "Jurassic Park."

Bjornabo said...

I'm glad to see that you have reviewed yet ANOTHER Norwegian movie on your site.

As I might have mentioned to you before I think this movie MIGHT be more enjoyable if you are Norwegian.
We have been feed with tons of Troll-stories from the great norwegian folktale writers through our childhood and this movie relates a lot to those stories.

In an interview with the director he said that besides the Trolls, the most important thing about the movie was to view the beautifull Norwegian scenery, something I think he managed to do.

The main carachter of "Hans" is played by one of Norways most famous comedians, wich have some pretty "shocking comedy". He has burned both the American Flag and the Bible on primetime TV, and (in a humorous way) treatend to kill the husbond of the norwegian princess. So many people felt that he was a strange choice to play the lead in this movie, but I think he did an excellent job.

The director André Øvredal have been in contact with several companies regarding an american remake, but nothing is confirmed at this time.
He also made a funny remark that he concidered giving the international version of the movie the name "Troll III" wich I think whould have been just awesome.

Johnny said...

Bjornabo - The scenery was beautiful. Definitely stood out to me in the movie!