TROLL
(***)-JIM RUTKOWSKI

"...a decent ride of large-scale action and near-misses..."

Just Like Godzilla-Only More Norwegian

(120822) As the world waits for another installment of the “Godzilla vs. Kong” series (due in 2024), super fans of giant monster movies are offered something to tide themselves over with “Troll,” a Norwegian production looking to merge some kaiju action with local folklore. There’s also a disaster film element to the endeavor, with director Roar Uthaug (who previously helmed the “Tomb Raider” reboot) returning to the genre after 2015’s “The Wave,” bringing more death and destruction to the citizens of Norway. Screenwriter Espen Aukan conjures a simple plan of mayhem featuring a building-sized troll on the loose, hammering out basic characterizations to carry the human perspective while Uthaug deals with visual effects and scenes of mayhem. “Troll” is meant to easily play all over the world, delivering broad strokes and big threats, and it connects as intended. It’s not quite up to super-monster standards, but the viewing experience is breezy while also utilizing local culture and fairy tale history to complicate a dire situation of survival.

A railway tunnel is being constructed at the Dovie Mountain in Norway, with crews blasting their way through rock. During this activity, a troll is released, with the massive creature looking to destroy those who confront it. As the government scrambles to understand what’s going on, paleontologist Nora (Ine Marie Wilmann) is brought in to help decode this monstrous activity, quickly recognizing the work of a troll. Partnering with the Prime Minister’s assistant, Andreas (Kim Falck), and military leader Kris (Mads Sjogard Pettersen), Nora elects to find her estranged father, Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold), who has studied the world of folklore and fairy tales for his entire life, driving his isolation from family and society. Tobias as some answers concerning troll behavior and control, but the government doesn’t have the patience, with the monster making its way to Oslo, inspiring Nora and the gang to figure out a peaceful way to contain it.

Nora and Tobias once had a close relationship, with a prologue detailing the parent’s teachings in the ways of trolls, giving his daughter an understanding of fantasy in the midst of reality. The two eventually went their separate ways for reasons explained later in the film, with Nora becoming a paleontologist, digging up dino finds with her team, with one of the gang played by a cameoing Billy Campbell, appropriately named “Secord.” Her expertise with the natural world is needed when a troll is unearthed at the tunnel project, with a giant creature taking in surroundings he hasn’t seen in centuries, facing a hostile reaction to his appearance. “Troll” goes the disaster movie route, conjuring screen energy with the gathering of government leaders in a war room, while Nora is put on the spot, tasked with explaining the impossible to a collection of power players who refuse to accept such a bizarre reality.

“Troll” creates a people-on-a-mission story, as Nora is joined by Andreas, who has access to the Prime Minister. Kris represents the military, leading tanks, helicopters, and soldiers into battle with a huge creature. And there’s Tobias, who knows what’s going on, trying to bring some level of reason to the fight, gradually comprehending the troll’s senses, which involves its ability to smell the blood of Christians (Nora also has a powerful sniffer, able to detect “hypernature” in the air). Uthaug maintains a steady pace to the picture, which periodically covers troll horrors, watching the Kong-esque creation battle armies and elements, even marching its way through a troll-themed amusement park. Visual effects are generally quite good for this type of movie, and Aukan hopes to back up the rampage with some troll POV, working to encourage sympathy for the invader, giving it a back-story to help complicate the conflict as the government declares war on the beast.

Characters aren’t deep in “Troll,” with Nora and Tobias confronting their communication issues for the first time, working through shared grief over the loss of their mother/wife. Supporting players are formulaic additions to the quest, with Kris even handed an “Independence Day”-style speech to the troops before the final showdown. Uthaug also manages games of techies trying to undermine government orders, offering a Hollywood-ish take on a regional nightmare. Surprises are limited in “Troll,” but the entertainment value of the feature is present, giving monster movie fans a decent ride of large-scale action and near-misses, sold with competent performances and cinematic energy, with the helmer providing clean directorial execution, just not always the most imaginative storytelling.
 

Directed by:    Roar Uthaug
Written by:    Screenplay by Roar Uthaug & Espen Aukan
Starring:    Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård
 Pettersen
Released:    12/01/22
Length:    101 minutes
Rating:    TV-14
Available On :    Netflix

TROLL  © 2022 Netflix
Review © 2022 Alternate Reality, Inc.

 

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