TrollHunter (2011)

Muslim, That’s Ok, Right?

I had heard rustlings about this movie for a little while now, so when I found that it was available to stream from Netflix, I decided I needed to give it a go.  Problem is, I’m already a bit confused because I’m not sure how to put a title on it.  I’ve found it under Troll Hunter, The Troll Hunter, Trollhunter, and by it’s original Norwegian name, Trolljegeren.  But I’ll just call it Trollhunter to make it easy on everyone.  I doubt anyone reading my reviews will know any of these people, but it’s worth listing them.  Trollhunter was written and directed by Andre Ovredal, and stars Otto Jespersen, Glenn Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Tomas Larsen, Urmila Berg-Domaas, Hans Hansen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Naerum, and Eirik Bech.

This movie is comprised of the found footage of a documentary crew.  And this totally happened.  For realsies.  Thomas (Glen Tosterud), sound person Johanna (Johanna Morck), and cameraman Kalle (Tomas Larsen) are attempting to make a documentary about a supposed bear poacher named Hans (Otto Jespersen).  They interview many local hunters and Finn Haugen (Hans Hansen) who comment about the poacher before they finally stumble across Hans and try to get an interview.  He shuts them down numerous times, but they shall not be swayed.  They follow him into the woods one night and catch him as he runs out of the forest yelling “Troll!”  They follow him and Thomas gets bitten by something.  Back at Hans’ vehicle, he finally relents to letting them follow him in order to find out what bit Thomas.  He tells the film crew that he is a government employee who is tasked with the hunting of trolls.  The film crew finds this hard to believe.  At least until Hans lures out a giant, three-headed troll for them to see.  They run and Hans kills the troll with giant lights on top of his car, turning the troll to stone.  To cover it up, Finn Haugen returns as head of the Norwegian Wildlife board to plant a dead bear intended to throw people off the troll-trail.  He is not happy about the film crew following Hans because they’re trying to keep the trolls secret.  Hans and the film crew continue filming regardless.  Hans decides that there is a problem with the trolls that is making them stray outside their normal territory and the crew go to investigate with him.

This movie was pretty freakin’ dope.  I am not one to typically like watching foreign films because I like to play a video game while the movie is on my computer and I have to watch the screen a lot during a foreign film, but this one made it worth my while.  It uses the familiar “found footage” style, but it seems to do so in a more mocking way.  And why wouldn’t you when making a movie about trolls?  But they do start the movie with something like “We found this footage and we’re playing it for you uncut” and ends it with “The film makers were never seen again”.  In between we were given a solid story involving trolls.  Throughout the movie, we get more and more information about these trolls that I found very interesting.  Between Hans and a veterinarian that they go to in the movie, we get a lot of pseudo-scientific information about the trolls and the things they do.  The story itself is light – because you don’t have room for much story in a found footage movie – but what it had was great.  It was mainly just about the film crew making their documentary, Hans trying to figure out why the trolls are acting up and the government trying to hide it from the world.  There’s a good amount of suspense created in the movie, and a few occasions of comedy (few, at least, if you don’t count the entire premise of the movie).  Some of the humor is a little juvenile, but acceptable in it’s logic.  There’s one part where they’re trapped in a cave with some sleeping trolls and one of them lets off a loud, prolonged fart.  At first I thought it was very childish, but then I thought that, were trolls real, I would expect them to be pretty gassy.  Apparently (though this is not something I’ve ever heard before) trolls are not fond of Christian men.  They get a new camera person at one point and find out that she’s Muslim.  They say to Hans “Muslim is okay, isn’t it?” and he responds “I don’t know.  We’ll see what happens.”  This movie can be so bizarre, but also pretty damned compelling.

The look of this movie had a few stumbling points, but was mostly excellent.  The scenery was top notch, but too much credit cannot be given because that’s just what the scenery looks like in Norway.  You don’t get credit for that, Jesus does.  OH NO!  A TROLL IS AFTER ME!  Get it?  Well anyways, the movie was filmed nicely.  The part where they stumbled was on some of the visual effects, but not the ones you’d expect.  The trolls themselves looked really nice, but the fake, dead bears were really fakey.  This blew my freakin’ mind, man!  How can you make a fake creature (trolls) look so much better than a real life creature (the bears)?  But there were only two fake bears, so it wasn’t that bad.  There were about five different troll types in the movie and each one had a very distinctive look.  There was a three-headed troll, the smaller fuzzy trolls, and a gigantic boss troll.  All of them were very well executed.  The light and surroundings reacted appropriately to them, and they all had such personality to them.

The performances were all very solid, but not many stuck out for me.  I give a certain amount of respect to the abilities of the people in these found footage type movies because they are either pretty good improvisors or they are able to deliver written lines in a way that makes it seem as if they’re real and improvised.  That covers the bulk of the performances.  And, though Otto Jespersen had this quality to his performance as well, he was able to make Otto a pretty badass character, especially towards the end of the movie.  He is also the cause of most of the funnier moments in the movie, being the straight man that says the most ridiculous things, not because he’s going for humor, but just because he was the expert in the ridiculous.

This here is a movie you should watch.  If you have Netflix streaming, I don’t know why you’re not watching it right now.  This movie is very pretty, very interesting, and has at least one awesome character surrounded by solid supporting characters.  This here is a good watch.  Check ‘er out!  Trollhunter gets “Why problem make when you no problem have you don’t want to make?” out of “Have you got all the troll footage you need?”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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