Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Distributed by: Netflix
Written by Nick McCann
As our modern world progresses through technological connectivity and advancement, we lose some of the mystery of our existence. We have virtually any answer for any question, rendering old tales and traditional myths to the days of the past. There does come an exception with Norway and how they still keep trolls ingrained in their culture. Netflix’s latest monster adventure seems to capture that feeling while delivering classic giant creature destruction. And in that regard, it’s very enjoyable!
As I said, it is your classic monster movie through and through. A suspenseful build-up ultimately gives way to an adventure that spans half the country. It isn’t a challenging narrative but the film does ride the fine line between giving the situation weight and seriousness and having fun. In regard to the troll aspect, there is a reverence for not only the creature’s presence but the mythological aspect. This gives the plot just a bit more heart than you typically encounter in the genre.
That’s backed up by a plucky cast of characters. Again, the archetypes are familiar but likable. They all feel tightly wound and form a charming dynamic. Ine Marie Wilmann leads with confidence as the paleontologist. Her skills are believable and the way she proves herself in such a high-stakes environment comes naturally. Other characters range from the honorable soldier to the nerdy advisor to the Prime Minister and even a crackpot father. The script never forgets to give even the littlest character purpose or forge some kind of identity. I was behind the heroes and grumbling at the opponents.
Even the troll exhibits a character of its own. Like any good giant monster, it’s a ferocious yet tragic figure. You can tell it only fights because others fight it first. Props to the visual effects teams for lending such an engaging quality. The troll has an appealing design and the destruction looks very good. The classic set pieces like tanks battles and chase sequences get a nice spin put on them. Some of these even feel reminiscent of other monster films, namely “Kong: Skull Island,” “Rampage” and even Roland Emmerich’s take on “Godzilla” (albeit much better than that one particularly). Roar Uthaug, behind the camera, knows how to direct solid action while retaining a grounded perspective.
If you need some simple pleasure, “Troll” is very much a fun fix. It could’ve gotten by with setting a giant troll loose in the Norse countryside, but the movie ends up being more endearing than expected. Well-rounded characters, grand adventure, and an overall charming mood make this one of the cozier Netflix originals I’ve seen. By the end, I was actively cheering “Make more!” And I hope they do.
You can connect with Nick on his Facebook and Letterboxd.