Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Box Office Review - The Troll Hunter

The so called found footage film has experienced a real resurgence over the last few years. I enjoy a great deal of these films, but almost all of them have the same glaring faults. While The Troll Hunter is an impressive addition to the ever growing list of found footage flicks, it doesn't avoid these flaws.

The Troll Hunter begins with a group of film students documenting the poaching of bears in Norway. The guilty poacher appears to be a mysterious man named Hans who the students pursue hoping to get an interview. After a few attempts at confronting him, the students follow Hans one night and discover that he isn't killing bears, but rogue trolls. Obviously the students know they have a much bigger story to document, and with Hans permission, they follow him across Norway as he hunts trolls single handed.

The amount of travel that is done in the film sets it apart from similar movies. Usually found footage films are set in a single location, but the characters in The Troll Hunter are constantly on the move. This creates a sense of adventure in the film, and troll hunter Hans is a great character to follow.

Played by Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen, Hans is a regular guy, who just happens to hunt and kill trolls. While it is not known how long he has been on the hunt, we can assume that it has been a while by the way that he approaches the job. Nothing seems to phase him, and he always has a solution to whatever problem he faces. It is too bad that the student filmmakers aren't as interesting.

This is a common problem with found footage films. The characters filming get forced into being part of the story, but rather than becoming fleshed out characters, they are simple used as exposition machines. This isn't so much a fault of this film, as it is a fault of the found footage style. It is necessary to have characters filming everything going on, but in order to drive the story, time isn't wasted developing these behind the scenes characters.


Above my problem with the lack of character development in the film, is the sudden and almost inexplicable ending. The ending is messy, so messy that a new character is added out of the blue without any explanation. This sudden ending is not a product of bad film making, but a product of the found footage style. In order for the footage to be “found” there has to be a reason why it wasn't released. In order to do this, the on screen filmmakers have to disappear or die and be unable to release the footage. While this worked well for The Blair Witch Project, this ending has been done numerous times since, and has gotten tired.

The Troll Hunter is a good film that is technically impressive. It could have been a shot in the arm for the found footage style, but instead it copies previous films too closely. Overall, it is an easy and enjoyable film to watch, with a main character who is very memorable.


A Good Banana

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