Trollhunter, putting the fun back in trolls

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Vampires, zombies and pirates are all played out. It’s time for something new and fun: trolls.

Netflix to the rescue

Where would movies be without Netflix? Some movies would be okay, especially if the words “Transformers”, “Pirates” or “Harry” are in the title, but for every one of the blockbusters there are hundreds of stinkers…and for every hundred stinkers there is probably one or two that are just good. Most of these good movies you don’t see in the theaters or even know they exist, but somehow they end up on Netflix and that’s where people like me get to enjoy them.

You might complain about the lack of new movies on Netflix, or at least the speed at which they get new movies…and I agree with you. But you can’t argue the quantity of some genres that you may have never seen otherwise, such as documentaries, anime and foreign films. Netflix is an anime paradise but more so it’s the foreign films that have caught my attention. I’m not scouring Netflix for foreign films but for some reason a lot of the movies recommended to me by friends are foreign, and so far they’ve been spot on. Recent winners from across the oceans include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and Let the Right One In, one of the best vampire movies I’ve ever seen. And don’t even get me started with the awesome selection of kung-fu movies out on the Netflix…Ip Man, anyone? But the latest foreign flick really made me smile…

Trollhunter

The troll hunter takes his job very seriously.

Trollhunter

Trollhunter was recommended by a co-worker that doesn’t really share the same taste in movies as I do, thus I was somewhat skeptical, but he was also the one that recommended Let the Right One In, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, anything with trolls can’t be too bad, right? I mean, how many movies do you know of that have trolls in them, let alone are all about trolls? I read the summary of the film and it was pimped as a “documentary” which had me expecting a lot of shaky camera movement with little in the way of the spectacle…but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Trollhunter is presented in a documentary style but the crazy camera movements are minimal and are in no danger of making you nauseous. The movie sets up with a group of Norwegian college students investigating some recent “strange” happenings, most of which have been explained as bear attacks, but very quickly we discover that it’s all a government plot in efforts to cover-up the trolls that are terrorizing Norway. I know, it sounds ridiculous but the effort put into this movie just has to be admired and the fun you have watching is really off the chart…assuming you can go into the film accepting the fact the trolls just exist in the world.

I think the wonderful thing about Trollhunter is just that…trolls exist. There’s no real deep explanation as to where they come from or why they’re here, they’re just creatures that roam around the country causing havoc. And that’s where the troll hunter comes up. We’re introduced to this Crocodile Dundee-type guy that is old, rough and has a most manly beard (naturaly). At first we’re not sure what he does or why he’s doing it, but then one night in the woods it all becomes clear…Trrrooooolllllll!

What Blair Witch should have been

The college kids go with the troll hunter on a wild ride as he chases down the several different species of trolls that all call Norway home. Throughout the movie we learn about the trolls and the hunter himself. One great thing about the movie is how they mix in popular troll lore into the story, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone when the troop comes across a troll that lives under a bridge. At one point the troll hunter needs to get a blood sample from one of the trolls and then we learn a bit about how and why trolls react to sunlight the way they do…yes, they even apply some science to this whole thing…and it’s awesome. As the “documentary” continues we learn that the troll hunter is a government employee who’s job it is to rid the country of trolls while the Troll Security Service covers up the evidence and makes excuses for all the commotion (remember the bear attacks?). Between the college students and a troll hunter that is tired and just wants to retire, the group goes on to defy The Man and works to expose the menacing trolls to the public.

The characters in Trollhunter aren’t very deep but they’re fleshed out enough that you care about their situation and their cause. At one point the troll hunter gives us a peek into his life story, which happens to be one of the funniest moments of the film, but even he doesn’t have much depth. Yet one of the things I like most in a movie is when there is an interesting character that clearly has a back story but you’re not sure what it is. Remember when you saw Star Wars and you learned a bit about Darth Vader’s back story? It was incredible and you quickly had an entire story in your head about what really happened (before George Lucas ruined it, at least). Trollhunter has much of the same magic, just without all the robots and Ewoks. Given the independent nature of the film, the special effects are pretty good. It’s all believable as far as trolls go. If you just go with the flow and accept the existence of trolls, there’s nothing in the film that takes you out of the experience, making the entire hour and a half very enjoyable.

Trollhunter

There's not a bridge in the world that troll can hide under.

I believe in trolls

For a movie called Trollhunter, this film is a lot better than one might expect. I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting to see but one troll in this movie and then only at the end. I was pleasantly surprised to find the film is filled with trolls and they’re dealt with in a way that is fun, exciting and believable. And to think, without Netflix I never would have fallen into the wonderful world of trolls. Netflix thought I’d give Trollhunter three stars but it got five from me. I know Netflix isn’t the best when it comes to new movies but it’s hard to argue when you find gems like Trollhunter to put in your queue.

There is one sad thing about Trollhunter, however, and that’s the unfortunate possibility that they’ll try to remake the film in English, just like they did with Dragon Tattoo and Let the Right One In. I’m going to go on the record right now and tell you this is a bad idea. Don’t mess with the magic, man.

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About Author

Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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