“You have to believe in something to see it.”
Genre I’d put it in: Big Mythic Monster Mayhem
Release Date: 2022
Where I Watched: Netflix
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on Norwegian mythology and folklore.
Story: No, not 2010’s Trollhunter. Nor the animated musical Trolls from 2016. This story deals with people who dug way too deep, in order to mine
mithril , and of course found something they weren’t expecting. As the bigass troll wanders through Norway, trying to figure out how his world has changed, humans try to figure out what the heck is going on. Call for the help of Professor Tidemann, a well known…paleontologist? Hey, she’s the closest thing we’ve got to an expert. And someone with more than two brain cells to rub together.
Gotta say: Japan has its kaiju. But Norway has trolls y’all. And if you’re as big a fan of man-in-suit movies as I am? Troll will fit that bill, giving you a holiday film with big monsters attack energy. (What? It’s set in an area with snow. So it totally counts as a holiday movie. My rules.) You’ll get vibes from a whole lot of other men-in-suit and nature-run-amuck films. The most recent Godzilla films (the big guy himself is name-checked) immediately spring to mind, along with some Jurassic Park, and a bit of The Host and Independence Day. In fact Tobias Tidemann is totally the Ken Watanabe figure, wanting people to understand that the trolls are just as confused as humans, and how the humans should try to understand them. But y’know, we humans don’t typically do that. So yeah.
The reveal of the very first troll to our main characters? Yeah, that “tadaaaaa!” moment has been done to death in other movies with big creatures, but I still think it did its job here and is a whole lot of fun to see how the characters react. And the way the troll-y CGI blends in with the natural environment was very good, especially for a straight to Netflix film. Shockingly good for a straight to Netflix film, honestly. Even though in a few scenes the troll himself looks a little bit like Kong in that franchise, but whatever. Big troll! Woot!
The human characters are a bit boilerplate, but their actors give them life and a bit of sass. Ine Marie Wilmann plays Professor Nora Tildemann as a gal who doesn’t know what’s going on, but isn’t going to let that break her stride. She’s determined to get things done, and get questions answered. And Nora’s determination is the driving force of this story. That she happens to be around during the most important troll sightings keeps the action-y bits grounded in story progression, rather than just thrown in for MOAR ACTION STUFF.Shout out to Kim Falk as the Prime Minister’s assistant Andreas Isaksen, and Karoline Viktoria Sletteng Garvang as Andreas’ BFF/fellow Star Trek aficionado Sigrid Hodne. They’re fun comedic relief that do that job without coming off as too silly, instead allowing their humor to play important parts in the plot. Troll knows that viewers are here for the fun troll action, and keeps things firmly set on what happens next.
If like me you are the kind of person that often feels sorry for the monsters in horror movies, you’ll probably find your heart bleeding a little bit here. The usual condemnation of our typical “humans kill everything they don’t understand and then never think on it again” is loud and proud here. And while Troll doesn’t exactly shake up that trope, thanks to the sweetly poignant performance of Wilmann as Nora, there’s a wee bit of bittersweet during the film’s climax. Oh, and there’s definitely a setup for a sequel, so who knows? Maybe we’ll see these characters again. Or at least that gorgeous, gorgeous Norwegian scenery.
Come for: Big monster goodness!
Stay for: A plot that feels like stuff you’ve seen before, yet will still hold your interest.