My viewing experience of Trollhunter (2010) was comparable to when we watched Good Bye, Lenin! (2003). The familiarity in terms of how the narrative was emplotted, as well as the clear motives and actions of the characters made way for a relatively easier viewing compared to the other films we have watched in class so far. I particularly enjoyed the film’s effectiveness in making its viewers believe that actual trolls inhabited the forests of Norway, and people are being dispatched by the government to eliminate these trolls as discreetly as possible. The attention to detail in Øvredal’s troll-filled world was impeccable. Case in point, the scene where the scientist explains how ultraviolet light causes the death of the trolls–exposure causes instant calcification of the trolls–was a nice nugget of information to know about the world being unveiled to us in the movie. The different kinds of trolls enumerated throughout the film also gave more depth to this world. Even the processes of the government intervention were given attention by the film. The form Hans fills out whenever he slays a troll seemed legit, but looking at it now it does appear a little ridiculous. These little spoonfuls of detail being fed to the viewers led to an enhanced understanding of what was going on throughout the film, and informed our viewing of the film immensely.
This troll-infested Norway being presented by the movie was made more real through the use of the documentary style of the film. Knowing that this was a found-footage-style documentary, I did not mind the sloppy camerawork and the peculiar editing for they are ingrained in the genre. In fact, it contributed to the effectiveness of the movie in unearthing the “reality” of trollhunting. It was as if we were alongside the characters in their quest to kill these trolls. The CGI used to generate the trolls we saw in the film was also quite impressive. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting nor did I want to see the trolls themselves because attributing a physical form to these majestic creatures might not give justice to their extraordinary and larger-than-life quality. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how the CGI trolls looked like. Their depictions were as gross as I imagined a troll would be. Instead of ruining the experience of trollhunting, the beautiful troll animation added to its authenticity.
This film brought to my notion of a European cinema a look into European culture via Norwegian mythology. While the drama-comedy Good Bye, Lenin! inculcated me with the tragedies of history and its repercussions on humanity, Trollhunter imparted me with a high-octane, nuanced experience on a monster so iconic in European folklore. The idea of ancient behemoths inhabiting our modern-day world was pulled off by the film brilliantly. It also brings to fore the power of documentation–how vital it is in terms of concretizing danger by giving it a face, and how intrusive it is of nature and its processes. The product was a thrilling and believable adventure peppered with the relief of dry humor.