Director Roar Uthaug take us on a ridiculously fun ride with “Troll”, his Norwegian monster flick that plucks inspiration from countless creature features and disaster movies. What we get is a cool action-packed spectacle full of crazy set-pieces and top-notch special effects. And while its story has some good build-up, it has the sense to know not to take things too seriously, which makes it more of a rip-roaring hoot than a dark and dour downer.
While it looks amazing (as good if not better than anything from US studios not named “Top Gun: Maverick” or “Avatar: The Way of Water”), Uthaug’s unashamed pastiche doesn’t shirk on the tension-building. And despite how familiar things feel, “Troll” has its share of surprises, starting with its titular creature plucked right out of Scandinavian folklore. And while most of the characters all fit a particular model, it’s easy to overlook thanks to the solid performances and some fun energy between them.
While blasting a tunnel through a mountain in Dovre, a construction crew inadvertently awakens a creature laying dormant deep within. The creature, a massive stone Troll, bursts out, killing those who have interrupted its sleep. After live video captured by protesters reaches the Norwegian government, Prime Minister Berit Moberg (Anneke von der Lippe) organizes the military and calls in a team of experts to help figure out a course of action.
One of those experts is Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann), a paleontologist overseeing a dig along the Atlantic coast in northwestern Norway. Nora knows the area well and was taught the mythology of the mountains, aka The Troll Peaks, by her estranged father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold). He believed firmly in the existence of trolls but was discredited and shamed by others in the science community. Ultimately Nora couldn’t get behind her father’s theories leading to them going their separate ways.
In Oslo most of the “experts” are quick to blame the incident on a pocket of methane. But Nora is quicker to recognize the obvious – a beast the size of a tall building has been let loose and is heading towards the capitol city. After a second incident, the Prime Minister orders the evacuation of Oslo and tasks Nora with investigating deeper, in hopes she can find a way to stop the troll. With the help of Captain Kris Holm (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen) and Moberg’s chief advisor Andreas Isaksan (Kim Falck), Nora sets out to find the only person who may have the answers they need – her father.
“Troll” features a terrific blend of fantasy and modern day while also tapping into the the old-school entertainment of classic monster movies. And while the story might not win any awards for originality, its chock full of cultural references including King Kong, Star Trek, and Call of Duty. They may not add a ton overall, but they’re fun to pick out. That often dismissed and maligned word “fun” defines “Troll” in a nutshell. It’s an eye-popping genre flick that delivers exactly what you expect from it. Nothing more; nothing less. That turned out to be all I needed to have a good time. “Troll” is now streaming on Netflix.