TROLL (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: When an explosion in the Norwegian mountains awakens an ancient troll, officials appoint a fearless palaeontologist to stop it from wreaking deadly havoc.
Let’s warmly welcome the Troll to the monsterverse if there’s one. The USA has King Kong, Japan has Godzilla and now Norway is sending in their very own creature into the ring.
Based on a traditional Scandinavian folklore, the story is about a drilling team who has somehow awaken something gigantic in the mountains. And now it is angry and ready to destruct virtually anything in its way. Naturally, the government, military and scientists are called in. They are of course represented by paleontologist Nora (Ine Marie Wilmann), the Prime Minister’s assistant, Andreas (Kim Falck), military leader Kris (Mads Sjogard Pettersen) and lastly, Nora’s estranged father, Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold), a big fan of folklore and fairy tales.
Clearly, all these people should come in handy to resolve this monster crisis. As always, this is as much story or narrative we are getting if you are new to the game.
Norwegian Roar Uthaug who directed The Wave and the reboot of Tomb Raider has no qualms turning his beautiful motherland into a massive, disastrous battlefield between humans and Troll. The CGI demonstrated here is as good, if not much better than most Hollywood blockbusters given the convincing real-life, breath-taking landscapes and backdrops. Our main star, the Troll went around wreaking havoc liked a less hairy version of King Kong and kudos to Uthaug for taking a leaf out of Hollywood’s cookbook and making it far more awesome as the finale shows.
Liked Godzilla (2014) and King Kong (2005), the flick suffers whenever the narrative switches its focus on the humans. Table top discussions and ideas are thrown around. Messages, themes about the environment and human greed are brought up with not much of a conclusion. Face it, no one remembers Ken Watanabe’s scientist character in Godzilla or Jack Black’s as a wannabe filmmaker in Peter Jackson’s King Kong end of the day. But Uthaug and his screenwriter manages to squeeze in some touching father-and-daughter moments between Nora and Tobias and some tongue-in-cheek humour from Andreas and his geeky fellow Star Trek fan who works in the military computer intelligence department.
There’s so much to like about Troll despite the familiar tropes and massive CGI action sequences. Mostly, it’s the handling of the narrative, the flawless CGI monster and the movie’s brisk editing and excellent use of Scandinavian folklore that makes this a must-watch. It’s been a while since we look forward to a sequel and Troll’s teasing of one in the mid-credits make us crave for more. Feel free to bring it to the monsterverse!
Review by Linus Tee