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TrollHunter (Trolljegeren)

by

Jeff Nelson

TrollHunter is far from perfect, but it deserved much more attention in the United States than it got.

TrollHunter (Trolljegeren)
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Ancient mythologies have been created all over the world. However, America doesn't seem to have much of a folklore. These legends have traveled through different forms of media worldwide. People know what trolls are , but not many are aware where it originated. The original story came from Scandinavia. The Norwegian film TrollHunter takes on the myth itself. Some moviegoers will enjoy the mockumentary filming style while others will feel that this technique is stale. However, I feel that this was a necessary decision to make for TrollHunter. Even though the handheld camera idea has been done to death, there are times where it can be successfully used.

Three students enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher named Hans. When they find him, he claims that bear hunting is just a coverup. He actually tracks down trolls for the Norwegian government. This footage captures the triad as they follow Hans deep into the forest. If you're expecting nonstop troll action, you'll be disappointed. There's quite a bit of buildup before trolls are even mentioned. As I look back at the beginning of other handheld films such as The Blair Witch Project, the characters introduce themselves and quite a bit of development is shown as time goes on. In TrollHunter, we don't get very much of a back story on any of the main characters. We hear some about Hans as he's being interviewed in the restaurant, but the three students don't reveal too much about themselves. The screenplay contains good dialogue with some clever twists on the story of the troll. The ending is predictable, but doesn't take much away from the film. The concept of centering a movie around trolls sounds absolutely ridiculous, although the filmmakers took a serious approach. This isn't a silly B-movie type deal. Even though the script isn't a masterpiece, it's well-written for what it is.

Even Norwegian moviegoers won't recognize this cast. This is a completely unknown group of actors. While this could be seen as a bad thing by some viewers, it actually works to the advantage of the film. Since these aren't big names, audiences won't be thinking about a previous role they were in. All of the actors are believable in the characters. Each performance comes across as completely natural. The cast successfully mix with the CGI trolls. As previously stated, these creatures aren't being shown in a foolish style. The fear expressed by these actors feels real. None of these performances are magnificent, but they're all suitable.

One of the primary reasons why filmmakers use the handheld camera technique is the budget. It's a much more cost efficient way to film. Those who complained about movies such as Cloverfield being too shaky shouldn't have an issue with TrollHunter. The camera is held fairly steady throughout, even during the chase sequences. The trolls themselves are only seen by the audiences in a few different scenes. The CGI trolls look good. Towards the end of the movie, the biggest type of troll appears. The audio is a big element. Surround sound systems utilize every moment of the running time. Even when there aren't trolls on screen, the dialogue is clear and the rear channels handle a lot of the ambiance. The track shines during the troll scenes. Each speaker is utilized to its full potential. Viewers are surrounded in a 360 degree sound field of hearing trolls breathing, stomping, and grunting. The bass is so clean and deep that it rattles the floorboards when the trolls are stomping and screaming. TrollHunter uses the audio mix and visual elements very well.

Despite the fact that TrollHunter uses the exhausted handheld camera technique, it's worth seeing. Even though this style of filming has been done too many times, I don't mind seeing it done correctly. Don't expect a fast paced action adventure. Those who enjoy learning folklore are sure to have a great time. There are flaws scattered throughout, but there's more than enough to make up for them. America will unfortunately be releasing a remake. I simply don't see a remake of this being very good. TrollHunter is far from perfect, but it deserved much more attention in the United States than it got.

My Rating = Three amd One Half Stars

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