The Troll director revealed Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on creative details
Long before I was old enough to dive into JR. Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard and Fritz Lieber, I have experience writing fantasy.
Like most children, I was first introduced to literature that contained the supernatural and fantastic in the form of traditional fairy tales. Bedtime Stories grew primarily from Whitman Classics’ 1971 hardcover book Famous Tales, which as a modern advertisement was available free with the purchase of a Folgers coffee. This collection includes stories like Jack the Ripper, Elves and the Shoemaker, Tom Thumb, The Bearded King, Gretel the Wise, Bearskin, and Rumplestiltskin.
Another bedtime favorite was Whitman’s version of Billy the Raw’s Three Goats.
In Three Billy Goats’ Grove, three goats must escape a wild and angry ride, cross a bridge and reach a pasture where they graze. I doubt that the children’s version, which reaches modern readers through George Webb Dassant’s translation of Some Norske Folkeventir, published as a Norse folk tale in 1859, provides sufficient background information on this tale. Two collectors of fairy tales inspired by the Brothers Grimm. The Norwegian fairy tale “The Three Billy Goats” or “De tre bukkene Bruse” is part of legends, myths and legends that have been handed down over the centuries.
Trolls are an integral part of Scandinavian mythology. Said to live in remote mountains or caves, they are considered hostile, weak, and strong. Some northern rock formations are believed to be frozen trolls, as some legends have it that trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight.
The iconic features of this legendary race also resonate with modern audiences. In addition to Tolkien’s works, trolls can be found in Catherine Patterson’s 1977 novel Bridge to Terabithia and in films such as Boxtrolls, Frozen, Charmed and Trolls.
The Norwegian monster film Troll, directed and written by Roar Utag, takes a different approach to using these mythical creatures. Trolls launches on Netflix December 1st.
The film opens with a beautiful scene of a father and daughter on a mountaintop, proving that reality and fantasy can only be separated by our willingness to believe the unbelievable.
20 years after that short but thrilling flight, paleontologist Nora Tiedeman (Ine Marie Willman) is appointed by the Norwegian government to lead a research team in a fjord excavating a giant, real-life dinosaur skeleton. . Workers who suddenly released something while constructing a new railway tunnel deep in the Dover Mountains in south-central Norway. Prime Minister Berit Moberg (Anneke von der Lippe) goes to work to control the lime farming fiasco after hearing the opinions of various scholars. Despite the growing number of giant footprints like on land, no one can pronounce the word “troll” yet.
Luckily, Nora’s father, who viewers last saw in that exciting opening scene, is transformed into a “shy scientist with an incredible understanding of what’s going on.” We’ve seen this guy in genre films and once in a 9 year old original X-Files series.
When Nora confers with her father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold), he immediately recognizes the angry creature as Rad. The viewer is not surprised, as Tobias lives in a remote cabin filled with books, documents and sketches of trolls.
“Troll” Utaga mostly borrows from films of other genres. The monster is half King Kong, half Godzilla, half T-Rex. The creature’s appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the two dueling ogres from the 1966 kaiju cult classic Gargantua War, directed by Ishiro Honda.
Nora’s quest to find the creature involves Andreas Isakson (Kim Falk), the only person willing to believe the unbelievable, and Captain Kristoffer Holm (Mads Sjögaard Petersen), a member of the Norwegian Army willing to disobey orders. Nora hits him even though she only met him 10 minutes ago.
While the troll may not be smart enough to spot narrative inconsistencies, obvious clichés, and loopholes, it’s still a lot of fun. Understandably, Utag doesn’t expect his audience to take this film seriously. However, Hollywood wants to show audiences that it doesn’t have a monopoly on creature functions. Troll is every bit as fun as any of Legendary Pictures’ recent MonsterVerse films.
Trolls will likely appeal to anyone who appreciates a strong modern take on an ancient folk tale. Kaiju moviegoers; and those who appreciate new interpretations of genres that have been dominated by American filmmakers for decades. The graphics are superb, the acting is top-notch, and the story is driven by graphics, humor, and suspense. Be sure to check out the mid-credits scene that sets the stage for the next one.
And if you’re looking for another dual creature movie, check out 2010’s Norwegian dark fantasy Trollhunter. Written and directed by André Øvredal, this cartoon has become a cult classic.
Lee Clark Zump is editor of Tampa Bay Entertainment Journal and author of short stories that have appeared in select stories and magazines. Follow Lee at www.patreon.com/Haunter_of_the_Bijou.