Monday, June 13, 2011

Troll Hunter

I saw the Norwegian film Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren) this weekend--which was timely given all the recent blogosphere discussion related to 0-level characters and the heroicness (or nonheroicness) of adventurers. The film is a mokumentary supposedly made by a group of students setting out to do an exposé on a bear poacher, but instead recording their adventures with a lone troll hunter sanctioned by a secret Norwegian government agency.

Along the way we learn a bit about the naturalism of trolls. There are multiple varieties with different habits, but they all have a weakness to sunlight (exploited through the use of UV radiation) and they can smell Christians (though not Muslims, apparently). We also see the lengths the government goes to hide the knowledge of trolls' existence from the general populace, which provides much of the film’s humor.

Hans, the troll hunter, is wearily professional and matter-of-fact about his job--and occasionally regretful of his past actions. The students are sometimes fascinated (perhaps even exhilirated) by the hidden world they’re discovering--and sometimes scared out of their minds. Everybody does a good bit or running and more than a little hiding. It strikes me as a nice approach for the portrayal of adventurers in any era.

The film is obviously low budget, but the digital effects are surprisingly effective. It shows what SyFy originals could do if they had more effort put into their scripts. There’s a lot of riding around in the Norwegian countryside--it isn’t th fastest moving film--but I think that just lends it more verisimilitude.

If you get a chance, check it out (I saw it on HDNet movies and it's coming to blu-ray next week). It’s an inventive premise, and a nice mixture of humor and thriller.

12 comments:

JimShelley said...

I've wondered about this movie - thank you for the fine review! You might be interested in the news that Chris Columbus is being lined up to remake it: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/12/norwegian-monster-movie-trollhunter-to-be-remade-by-chris-columbus/

Tim Shorts said...

I was just reading about this movie. I hope it hits Netflix.

Dan said...

I saw this recently too, along with Rare Exports. I found it strangely unsatisfactory. It was well made in pretty much every way - but it just seemed entirely by-the-book and predictable. I wanted the film-makers to push themselves just a little bit further.

Perhaps one failing is that I never really felt I got to know any of the characters. There was a start of a nice character piece about the troll hunter himself, and perhaps painting his picture a little more (in the way documentaries and interviews seek to do) would have given the movie more pathos and identity.

ze bulette said...

I sure hope this comes to the little theater here that serves beer.

Akrasia said...

I heard about this film a few months ago, and have been looking forward to seeing it ever since. (Not intensely, of course, but in more of "I'd be curious to see this" kind of way.)

The Grumpy Celt said...

It got a poor review over at NPR.

Trey said...

@Dan - I can see that, though I'd say that's more of a "design feature" than a bug in that it is suppose to be "found footage," but I'd agree we don't know much about any of the characters other than the hunter.

@Akrasia - I think that's probably the right way to be about it. :)

Meowlissa said...

I was curious as well...of course my laziness hasn't allowed me to witness this yet. But. One day :P

bliss_infinte said...

I saw a preview of this a while back and it looked interesting. At least it's a unique take on something. I'll check it out when I get a chance!

Harald said...

The neat thing about this film is that it stays fairly close to the "traditional Norwegian troll," without over-explaining anything. And I do agree about the cgi. I can't remember the budget atm, but it was quite small.

Jay said...

" It shows what SyFy originals could do if they had more effort put into their scripts."

This is simultaneously encouraging and depressing (knowing their potential and knowing they refuse to try!).

Great review, I'd heard about TH but now I think I'll see if I can track it down.

ze bulette said...

Apparently you can rent this in iTunes now for $8.