October 9, 2011

Are You Not Entertained: Troll Hunter!

Josh and I were planning on going to a movie with some friends tonight, but nothing in theaters tickled our fancy. Some married friends of ours offered up their Netflix account for the evening, and we were all amazed to note that this seemingly ultra-cheesy movie had 4.5 stars according to the Netflix rating system.

In Troll Hunter, a group of Norwegian college students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.

Is it just me, or does this not look like a 4.5-star film?

Well, let me tell you, it was "pretty d*** spectacular" as the poster implies. Think Norwegian Blair Witch Project, but infinitely better.

I am a huge mock-umentary fan. They impress me so much more than actual documentaries!

1) You have to come up with something new.
If people wanted to watch a movie about something they'd seen before, they'd watch one that was--oh, I don't know--not a total lie! It requires genuine creativity and originality to come up with something compelling enough for mockumentary-style filmmaking.

2) You have to actually write a story.
Yes, documentaries have plots, but that's just because that's how it actually happened and you were coincidentally in the area and had your camera running. You get no credit for that! Make a mockumentary and write your own plot, ofr crying out loud!

3) You have to make important plot points feel spontaneous.
Little details that might show up in an actual documentary and end up being important later need to be intentionally and carefully planted in a mockumentary film, but it has to seem like "Oh my gosh, did you see that? I can't believe I caught that on camera!" Tricky business.

4)You have to (or rather get to) make up "science" to back up the goofy premise of your film!
This was my favorite aspect of Troll Hunter! The filmmakers took the time to invent scientific rational for the existence of trolls. All of the mythic elements of trolldom are interwoven with reality. Science explains away why trolls live so long, how they interact with their own kind, and even why sunlight (UV rays) turns them to stone. It was very impressive.

5) The actors have to achieve all of the gritty "real life" emotions without making them look hokey.
I don't know what else to say about this. How do these guys deliver all of this carefully planned dialgoue upon which so much of the plot hinges as though they just made it up off the top of their heads?

To sum it up, a fabulous, captivating, and entertaining film. It has the dry, academic quality of a documentary (you know, that sense that you're learning something), but it is interspersed with the humorous quirks bound to result when a bunch of college kids go backpacking in a grumpy old troll-blaster's van and with exciting plot twists and character development. I also really enjoy foreign language films because you actually have to pay attention to them. You can't put them on and then go into the next room to make a latte--unless you understand Norwegian. The special effects are not half bad either. Take a look.

All in all, a must-see. Get thee to Netflix!

I must add that the film makes a laughingstock of Christianity. I was not the least bit offended, however, because the depictions are so far-fetched that they were truly hilarious.

I feel guilty posting this on a Sunday . . .

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