Wednesday, July 20
Movie Review - Troll
To celebrate the release of the final Harry Potter movie, I'm reviewing the first movie this week. Troll is...wait a minute, Troll?
I'm actually not kidding here. Troll was released before the first Harry Potter book, and not only is the main character Harry Potter, but he's Harry Potter Jr. (his dad is Harry Potter Sr.) Oh yeah, he becomes a wizard too.
Unlike most of my reviews, this will be a real review rather than a semi-comedic plot summary. Why? Because I should do that more often, and because there isn't as much to make fun of as most of the movies I talk about on this blog.
I've touched on the Troll movies before. Troll 3 aka. The Crawlers was my first review on this blog, and shortly after that, I reviewed Troll 2. Troll 2 is one of the most famous bad movies out there, so much so that it still makes theatrical runs twenty years later. It had a blu-ray release before Star Wars blu-ray was even announced (I even reviewed it before Star Wars blu-ray was announced,) and more people know about Troll 2 than people know about the first one. That's saying a lot for an ultra-low budget movie that has nothing to do about the original.
As for Troll itself, it's not nearly as funny as the original, but it's not nearly as bad either. In fact, some things actually work about this movie. Sure, it's very silly and strange, but it might actually be worth checking out.
The premise is that some ancient evil Troll creature called Torok is transforming a small apartment building into a magical realm. Why? To take over the world of course. An ancient witch, who used to be Torok's lover, and Harry Jr. are the only ones in Torok's way. It's a neat concept; it's just too silly and lighthearted to work.
The movie's biggest problem is that there's a total lack of build up. The first thing Torok does is kidnap Harry's little sister and transforms his body into her shape. That's not a spoiler because it happens 2 minutes into the movie. Torok acts crazy while looking like Harry's sister. If we saw how the girl acted before she was kidnapped, this could have been really neat. Instead we have no idea how Torok acts different from the "pain in the @**" that Harry describes her as. The movie also has the stereotypical jerk character, but he's killed off 20 minutes in. Some big creature is shown off camera at one point, and less than three minutes later, he's shown. As silly as the movie is, it still would have been much better if it had more build up.
The movie's silly nature kind of works. Sure, the movie is impossible to take seriously because of the silliness, but it still kind of works. It's hard to explain, but the movie has a certain charm to it that modern cinema lacks. Movies these days take themselves too seriously and often forget that they usually aren't supposed to mirror real life, so it's refreshing to see a movie that makes fun of itself every now and then.
As for the Harry Potter resemblance, the further I got in the movie, the more I was convinced that it actually inspired the series on some level. The movie has a mystical realm within our real world, with a constant struggle between the good and evil witches and troll creatures. Sure, the Harry Potter franchise has little to do with this movie on the surface, but Troll has the same kind of feel as the earlier Harry Potter movies. It's hard to explain, but if you watch this movie you'll know what I'm talking about.
Would I recommend it? Hard to say; if you can enjoy a silly flick that's not necessarily good, but lighthearted and occasionally funny, you might like this. It's not good by any measurement, but it might interest Harry Potter fans. It's also fascinating to me because Troll 2 is one of my favorite bad movies and I wanted to see how little it had to do with the original. So in short, if you like Troll 2 or you're a die-hard fan of Harry Potter, Troll might be worth checking out. However if you can't stand mediocre movies overridden with silliness, it's probably better to avoid.