Well, the whole world knows by now that there really ARE monsters in Norway. And then there are monster movies.
Of course it was a fluke--a sheer coincidence that a Norwegian film just happened to open at my local arthouse this weekend. And that it happened to be a monster movie. And that both the Christian and Muslim faiths were mentioned in it. TROLLHUNTER was made in 2010 and is only being released here now... and now I doubt that anybody can talk about it without thinking of the unspeakable true-life horror just inflicted by the real Norwegian monster. I doubt I'll ever be able to completely comprehend what happened... I can only offer my condolences and empathy along with the rest of the world.
So today, after plenty of time to ponder this, I did what I knew I was going to do from the beginning--I went to the movies and soaked up some Norwegian culture in the guise of a harmless--but genuinely terrific--monster movie.
TROLLHUNTER is pure BLAIR WITCH in concept and presentation. It consists of mysterious "found footage" introduced with an ominous preamble which concludes that the footage was judged to be authentic. And we're quickly introduced to a team of college documentarians who think they're covering the search for an illegal bear poacher. Ah, but their target (while not completely removed from the unauthorized bear hunting) is after bigger game... and eventually they persuade their reluctant quarry to let them tag along and see exactly what he's bagging.
Yep. Trolls. GIANT trolls. They're not quite like the ones in the fairy tales--the ones who actually wear clothes, pose riddles and contests and try to trap and eat people. They're actually quite content to munch on rocks, and they never come out in the daytime because sunlight will either turn them to stone or make them explode. But SOMETHING has disrupted the troll behavior patterns... a lot of them are running amuck and the secret of their very existence (not to mention the security of Norway) is in danger of being blown.
And yes, just as in classic Norse mythology, they have an uncanny ability to sniff out God-fearing Christians (which leads to several intriguing "bait and distract" tactics being deployed throughout the course of the film). And when a Muslim joins the team? "Is that okay?" "We'll see what happens!"
Oh, will you ever see what happens. Format notwithstanding, there's no BLAIR WITCH mystery here--it won't be long before you see EXACTLY what the crew is up against in scene after scene of imaginative, well-realized creature action... along with genuine suspense, human drama, bureaucratic satire... in fact, pretty much everything EXCEPT provocative religious-based material. The Christian element springs fairly from mythology--it fits in naturally and is never used to antagonize this or any other faith.
Yeah--opening THIS of all weeks, I felt it was important to point that out.
The real world is quite horrible enough these days. So how about a monster MOVIE? Here's the best one of the year.
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