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BEWARE! TROLLS!

June 17, 2011

I’ve been a bad blogger…  It has been quite a while since I’ve shown up around here…  I figure I’ll (re)start with a quick review.  I could review Thor, or Tree of Life, or the new Woody Allen film, but what fun would that be?  Everybody is talking about those, right?  I need to stand out, so here is my review of The Troll Hunter!

The Troll Hunter , aka Trolljegeren, is a 2010 Norwegian horror mockumentary written and directed by André Øvredal.

Without giving too much away, this film features a small university film crew from Volda College hoping to expose bear poachers.  While hot on the trail of a suspected illegal bear hunter, Hans, they see something unbelievable. “TROLLS!”  Without skipping a beat, their documentary switches focus to a new subject, the exposure of these ancient magical beings.

Following the formula laid out by past documentary style horror films, we experience the discovery through the eyes of the film crew.  In this case though, childhood fairy tale monsters have sprung to life and the crew can’t be more excited about it.  They run through the forest in the dark smiling ear to ear without any thought to what the Grimms, Anderson, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe attempted to teach  them.  Fairy tale monsters generally threatened to EAT the protagonist.  Many think of these tales as “Y’know, for kids,” and they were and still are, but they teach lessons as well.  They teach us not to go wandering off into the forest when our parents told us to do chores.  We learned not to eat edible houses.  Tolls must be paid to cross bridges.  Etcetera etcetera.

All in all, this was a wonderful film.  Acting, production value, script, and SFX all came together to tell a fun and exciting story.  It gives a modern take on an old story, in that the filmmakers, just like children in fairies tales of the past,  take it all a little too flippantly, and never treat the trolls with the caution that they deserve.

The film takes an interesting turn revealing man’s relation to trolls in Norway and a bit of a conspiracy surrounding the knowledge of their existence.  Through this twist we then get a final moment which made me yell out loud with laughter.

Some might say the docu-film technique is being over used now.  But I say nay.  This is a viable and fun way to tell a story.  It caters to what the masses want.  The numbers don’t lie,  as proven by the audiences that American Idol, Dancing with C List Celebrities, and all those Bachelor shows get every week.  But seriously, Troll Hunter works.  It makes the viewer feel immersed in what is happening, because we literally share a point of view with a character.

We’re not just a fly on the wall, We’re a person in the room.

Re-interpretation, rebooting, ret-coning, revising, all these techniques of re-tooling classic stories and ideas are necessary.  It paves the way to the future by telling us new stories that are rooted firmly in the past classics.

Below is the Poem “Instructions” by Neil Gaiman, (which I’ve actually heard him read on three occasions in person) about what to do if you ever find yourself in a fairy tale.  It is amazingly amusing.  Enjoy!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul permalink
    June 17, 2011 9:27 pm

    That’s one big effing troll.

  2. June 23, 2011 10:58 am

    The first thing I think of nowadays when I hear talk of Gaiman is Amanda Palmer! Can I ask you what you thought of Mirrormask? (I may have asked before!)

    • June 23, 2011 11:49 am

      Very true. He married a VERY cool lady.

      I loved Mirrormask! It was reminiscent of the truly terrifying films of my youth like The Dark Crystal, The Neverending Story, Legend, Dragon Slayer, the list can go on and on. Movies are a little too gentle for kids today. Mirrormask and Pan’s Labyrinth are bringing back some of that Fable or Fairy Tale danger to films. The problem though, is that these films are being marketed to adults rather than kids… Pixar is never going to have a kid awake in bed afraid to turn off the lights the way a Skeksis did for me. 🙂

    • June 23, 2011 11:50 am

      Oh. And thank you for the read after my very long Absence… Hope all is well Roisin!

  3. June 27, 2011 10:51 am

    All is as well as can be! And you are welcome – I’ll watch out for more posts. I’ve been a little distracted from my blogs this year too, but will hopefully have some time to set aside to add some things to both during the summer. Have you seen the Sandman character poster? It’s like a game of Where’s Wally?. Or Waldo to you probably 🙂

    Hope all is well in NY – Since our trip there last year, I’ve had moments of ‘homesickness’ for NYC, if that makes any sense!

    • June 28, 2011 10:31 am

      Hey. Glad to hear that you are a Sandman fan! I think I’ve seen the poster you speak of…. I love the Sandman. I was able to go to a staged reading of three issues by NYC Broadway actors directed by Neil Gaiman a few years ago. It was one of the coolest events I ever went to.

      I understand your homesickness. NYC is about three miles from where I’m sitting right now, and I miss it. It is a great town where you never have to look for something to do, because something will always present itself.

  4. June 27, 2011 11:28 am

    Welcome Back Robert 🙂

    That Troll looks like an interesting movie

    • June 28, 2011 10:32 am

      Thanks Novroz! It was a fun film from the same guys that did the film “Monsters” which is also worth checking out.

  5. June 30, 2011 4:34 pm

    http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2008/07/httpimagesnymagcomdailyenterta.html

    Can you remember the names of those Broadway actors? I’ll see if I can find it on Youtube – Sounds great! Gaiman did a free reading and discussion at a Dublin radio station once – I had my tickets reserved, but unfortunately college lectures got in the way. That Broadway thing sounds amazing though – See, now that’s why NYC is brilliant – Honestly, it’s the most addictively alive place I’ve ever been too. From Brooklyn to standing at Time Square in the early hours of the morning to browsing Chelsea Market. We even unintentionally took part in a diabetes walk :\ Your final sentence is exactly the way we felt about our experience there – Exactly it. There was not a day went by without something noteworthy happening. I love the green fields of home of course, but I definitely hope to keep going back to New York over the next decade. If I won the Lotto, I’d combine a quiet Irish countryside life with every other month over there 😀 Michael Caine at 92Y was really hilarious and a great memory to have – His humour is so subtle that there were times when we were the only ones chuckling. Or maybe we were the only ones who liked his sense of humour 😛 And the theatres. Okay, I really need to stop now. I should really just dedicate a post to NYC on my blog. I still haven’t uploaded the photos.

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