Troll Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
When a thousand-year-old troll awakens from his slumber in the Norwegian Mountains, he leaves behind a trail of destruction. The same can be said about this Netflix failure!
Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Director: Roar Uthag
Cast: Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Gard B. Eidsvold, Anneke von der Lippe, Fridtjov Såheim, Dennis Storhøi, Karlonie Viktoria Sletteng Garvang & Billy Campbell.
Run Time: 101 min.
US Release: 01 December 2022
UK Release: 01 December 2022
German Release: 01 December 2022
Well, I finally saw this new Netflix production that had been gathering dust on top of my watchlist. I was interested to see this one, as I am a huge fan of folklore, fairy tales and mythology, especially Norse ones. As further positive critiques started pouring in, I finally managed to make some time last Sunday eve, ready to get blown away by this Norwegian monster flick. Unfortunately, I was left rather disappointed by the premise as it showed no originality, leaving me wondering how it obtained all the positive praise. So get your climbing gear ready, as we ascend on my review for Troll.
As an excavation team, building a new transport tunnel deep inside the Norwegian Dovre mountain, accidentally freed an old mythological creature from a thousand-year-long captivity. The gigantic troll quickly makes its way towards the capital, destroying everything in its path.
Director Roar Uthaug, who made his international debut with the 2018 Tomb Raider adaptation, brings Espen Aukan’s script to life in this Netflix production. What could have been an intriguing concept, exploring Scandinavian folklore, quickly turned into a run-of-the-mill product, which could have been produced in the United States.
Troll starts with a riveting opening, in which a young daughter goes mountain climbing with her father, on top he recounts to her a legend about the Norwegian mountain range, which is said to be formed by a group of trolls, who turned to stone due to sunlight. While aspects of that specific folklore resurface a couple of times, it never really delves deep into the matter wasting great potential. This is also true when it tries to weave in a clumsy message about environmental thinking that couldn’t be more superficial. Seeing Uthaug waste his chance at creating a classic Norwegian product, is simply frustrating.
Instead, it focuses on paying “homage” to bigger monster or disaster flicks, by ripping-off direct scenes from Jurassic Park, plagiarising complete storylines of Rolan Emmerich’s Independence Day and Godzilla, as well as quoting directly movies like King Kong, Lord of the Rings or Star Trek. This all makes for a disappointingly thin plot, with little to no substance. To the premise’s credit, it satirises a lot of those aspects, not in a goofy format but using dry humour that is quite enjoyable. The way it ends is nonetheless disappointing.
Dialogues have a well-balanced amount of drama and comedy, though can go a little overboard when referencing other entities, be it cinematic or of the gaming world. Some of the one-liners, specifically at the end, do cross the line into cheesiness.
Ine Marie Wilmann plays Dr. Nora Tidemann, an amalgamation of Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler as well as Dr. Nick Tatopoulus. While the character’s background story is appealing and Wilmann does have good chemistry with Eidsvold, Nora Tidemann is also overloaded with so many personality features that she comes off as being more shallow than well-rounded-off. A shame, because Wilmann did give a good performance!
Kim Falck portrays a geeky government employee, directly assisting the Norwegian Prime Minister, reminiscent of a combination of David Levinson and Constance Spano, from Independence Day. Mads Sjøgård Pettersen gives a good rendition of his character Captain Kristoffer Holm, who is the typical Army soldier helping out the lead to figure out how to stop the creature.
The best character, however, is Nora’s father Tobias Tidemann, portrayed by a magnificent Gard B. Eidsvold. Yes, the character is once again a shameless copy of several personas we know from Independence Day, but he is at least rendered with depth. Tobias is a folklore expert, who lost his grip on reality, yet now comes in handy, as an actual troll is rummaging around the Norwegian mountain range.
Picture-wise, this is largely a well-shot movie, taking in a lot of the breathtaking nature of Norway until it shifts focus to the Norwegian capital, an hour into the runtime. While the opening scene is stunning to look at, especially the impressive rock climbing sequence, once the characters are on top, the landscape looks overlit and fake. The overall tint is cold plus grey, with a lot of the colours desaturated, nevertheless suiting the setting.
The effects are a mixed bag; the troll itself is well-designed, sadly other effects look truly hideous at times. It overuses the effect of slow-motion, every time the troll throws a punch or steps over someone. Other than that, explosions, car wreckages, as well as giant footprints are well-handled.
The score by Johannes Ringen sounds adventurous, grand plus underlines the setting of Norway. It can come off as too powerful at times, especially when playing a modified pompous version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.
Verdict: This Norwegian fantasy-monster flick, has a lot of promise yet doesn’t use any of it. Instead, it concentrates on satirising Hollywood blockbusters, plagiarising whole segments or narrative ideas. Granted, the humour is dry, not spoofy, and the side-plot concerning the lead character’s reconciliation with her father is heartwarming. Unfortunately, the whole monster arc is bland and uninteresting, until it reaches a terrible ending. Characters are equally rip-offs of Jurassic Park, or Roland Emmerich film personas, however, most performances are fine. The cinematography is good-looking, though some parts are over-lit. The effects, on the other hand, vary from good, to incredibly bad. In the end, this has its moments but ultimately squanders the potential to become an original Norwegian monster tale, based on Scandinavian fairy tales. It is too derivative of better-made blockbusters, as such Troll is a mediocre 5.0 out of 10.
Have you seen this new Netflix release yet? Did you like it? Let me know what you thought in the comment section below. Thank you for reading & if you like the content, subscribe!