Saturday, August 6, 2011

TROLLHUNTER


Andre Ovredal, 2010
Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Tomas Alf Larsen

This comedy-fantasy-action-horror mashup is exactly what you would expect from the title -- a film about a Norwegian guy who hunts trolls. Three film students pursuing an independent project about bear poachers stumble across a strange, unfriendly man who turns out to be the head of a secret government team assigned to hunt down renegade trolls. Hans, the troll hunter, eventually agrees to cooperate with the students, because after many years on the job, he thinks the public deserves to know the truth about what has been sharing their country. The students accompany him on several dangerous mission to create a documentary about the trolls.

Trollhunter is fun and entertaining, but I can't say much other than that. There are some solid performances, the visual effects are done well and there are some genuinely funny and suspenseful moments. Like so many other films of this type, it has unfortunately suffered from an overabundance of hype and mis-marketing. If you're expecting to see a horror film, you're going to be disappointed. I hate to say it for the ten thousandth time, but any film that spends a significant amount of money on marketing, secrecy, and creating a viral campaign is destined to fail. I wish that much time and energy had gone into creating a solid script with three-dimensional characters, both of which are lacking in Trollhunter.

Mockumentaries usually annoy me, but it works well here. On the other hand, Trollhunter doesn't bring anything new to the table and doesn't really do anything creative. Honestly, the film left a bad taste of Hollywood in my mouth. What could have been a much richer and more imaginative story is instead replaced by a quick pillaging of Norwegian culture and legend, but Norway obviously didn't seem to mind, because it got very good reviews.

I did enjoy the film, but I think I expected too much. It's certainly worthy of a rental, if only for Otto Jespersen's convincing and funny performance. He essentially carries the entire film. If you don't expect anything more than a sometimes-scary, sometimes-funny monster movie, then you'll probably enjoy yourself. All my grumpiness aside, it's an entertaining film. Plus there are trolls. There is a single disc DVD available from Magnolia.

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