- Directed by Roar Uthaug
- December 1, 2022
A group of strangers must come together and battle a troll that is attacking Oslo after awaking from its long slumber.
Troll is one of those movies I had heard about that got a lot of praise but it just took me a little bit to get around to watching as everybody made it sound good. I can’t call it a great movie, but it is soundly entertaining. It mixes myths and reality together in a fun and at times sad narrative not only of the troll but of our central human.
Professor Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) is estranged from her father Tobias Tidemann (Gard B. Eidsvold) who (supposedly) went a little bonkers a few years prior having (purportedly) come to believe in one too many fairytales. The divide between father and daughter doesn’t seem that wide. While he chronicles fairytales, she’s a paleobiologist that digs into the past though she has many of the traits her father displays. And I’m seriously confused why they are not closer than they are other than him going a little bonkers. They frame it as his fault that he lost his mind and she’s angry that he caused himself to lose his mind which seems like a pretty crappy reason to distance yourself from your father. This all occurred after her mother died but it’s certainly not the death of the mother that separated the two.
Nora is brought into this story after an incident at a tunneling operation because…? Nobody in that initial meeting believes it to be a troll so her connection to her father is useless. Her skills as a paleobiologist will do nothing in either a grounded scenario or dealing with the fantastic. There is no good reason for the Norwegian military to go get her considering they have geologists and scientists of other disciplines present at the meeting.
And during the film Nora is always right about everything. She sees the obvious reality even though others should as well. For example there is no missing the giant footprints but nobody calls them that. She often takes the lead in situations and others of greater authority or experience than her follow without question. Why do movies do something so nonsensical? It is stupid writing.
One place Troll falls short in is characterization. This is primarily an adventure film but that does not mean you cannot get a clear idea of motivations or even get a bit of change in a character in the end as compared to the start and we do not get any of that. As they start so they finish and why they do what they do is mostly a mystery.
Underneath it all in this film there seems to be a message about our separation from the natural world as well as having some faith in the unseen. One could also draw that general Christianity is bad as it caused the destruction of all trolls in Norway despite trolls clearly liking to snack on Christians because they are Christian. Seriously. The troll in this movie picks up a praying soldier and eats him even though there are other options.
To give things a little more depth (and to the films benefit) this isn’t just some rampaging beast but rather it’s a creature with a goal and that goal is to reclaim its castle of which the castle of the king of Norway is built upon. From that little revelation the film works to make the troll character a little more sympathetic. Given everything that’s happened you are left with the impression that they are going to find a way for everybody to get a happy ending. Fortunately they don’t do that because a kumbaya moment after all the destruction and death just would not have worked regardless of who was actually at fault for it all.
The troll itself is a very great design. It looks like earth and rock come to life with a touch of Kratos from God of War for good measure. I really couldn’t help but think that when I saw it. I have never played the games but lately I’ve been seeing that image everywhere since a series was announced to be in development.
I am left with a question. Why did it take so long for the troll to become active? Admittedly it was buried in a mountain but this is a huge creature so being covered in a mountain is like a person getting a bit of dirt on them. We could eventually dig our way out. It was protected from direct sunlight so it was not going to turn to stone. I’m not sure if that element was discussed or not.
Troll is a very good bit of fantasy. It’s exciting and fun. Its flaws don’t harm it as you’re not watching this for anything deep. You’re watching for a cool adventure and that’s exactly what you get. If you have Netflix certainly check this out!