Last night I took a risk and watched a foreign-language mockumentary. It was actually one of the better things I’ve seen this year. Trollhunter is the story of three college kids who go in search of a bear poacher, and instead find a gruff, government-paid, gun-for-hire that runs around the country keeping the population of Norway’s biggest, hairiest state secret in check.
From beginning to end it’s a fun and exciting movie. While there are some rather drawn-out chase scenes–it is “found footage” after all– the ornery title character and the goofy, yet terrifying trolls scattered throughout the stunning landscape more than make up for it.
Trollhunter has something special thing in its favor: a wondrous and imaginative view of the world. A big theme of the story is that these giant monsters are scattered everywhere, but most people refuse to see the evidence. This means where most people see an abandoned mine, we learn to see a troll den. Where others see woods ravaged by a tornado, we see a troll trail. When others see power lines or musk oxen, we see electric fences and bait. This is delightful to someone who grew up looking for elves behind pines and dragons in every sun-gilded patch of underbrush.
As far as parental guidance goes, this is simply not a kid’s movie. It’s not grotesque, there’s no sex or nudity, but it’s just not geared for children. It’s intense, sometimes dark, and while most violence is off-screen, it is there in some scary moments. Also, the whole thing is in Norwegian. There are subtitles on the Netflix version, which is what I watched, and it does translate the occasional swear word.
But if that doesn’t deter you, and you’re looking for a fun way to spend some time, with some action, thrills, and laughs, check out Trollhunter. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Grey granite stone stands tall,
Ringing Norway in an icy wall.
Fjords cut and woods conceal
Broad lands with a chilly feel.
Rumbling, tumbling rock will roll
As giants roaring, begin to bowl.
Beware the hall of the mountain king,
The land where eagles fly and Norsemen sing.
The sound of crumbling crash and cracking ice
As soaring wind ceases to smell so nice
Are a sign that when you’re near the Pole,
You may find you’re fleeing a fearsome troll.