Thursday, August 16, 2012
Nilbog is Goblin Spelled Backwards
Contrary to the clues in the fairly blunt title, let us just tell you upfront: There is no Troll 1 associated with this movie, and there are no trolls.
You may think that a movie that follows the journey of a family to the noble city of Nilbog (population 26!) for a month of vacation where they intend to be farmers (um?) would be slightly boring, but you would be oh-so-wrong, my friend. Because I forgot to mention that the small boy, Joshua, can see his dead grandfather. And that his sister is a body-building, no-nonsense, "It's me or your stupid friends!" type of girlfriend. And that his mother is bland but has good fashion sense. And that his Dad has a secret southern accent. Also. Goblins want to eat them.
The thing that's really interesting and also equally confusing about said goblins is that they're actually vegetarians. Think about it. Do you see why this is a problem? They sidestep this problem by taking extra, painstaking steps to turn humans into plants. Now, if they were living in a desert, for instance, this would make complete sense. After all, they would have to make something to eat. In this movie, however, they live in a forest. They live in a forest amongst acres and acres of vegetation. In fact, in the opening sequence, they are physically tripping over fauna as they chase a human.
Analogy time: My favorite food is a chocolate chip cookie. Sometimes I don't have a chocolate chip cookie, so I eat an Oreo. Goblins' favorite food is vegetables; even when they do have vegetables, they find it more organic to turn humans into leaves. It makes no sense. It makes no sense and I honestly can't wrap my head around it.
How does one explain this movie? Okay. Picture this. You have a son with an overactive imagination. He is seven years old. He has a preoccupation with vegetables. And he displays schizophrenic tendencies. Imagine he wrote a script and that script was Troll 2. The end.
Now, I have never written a script. Well, that's false; one time I wrote a script for my English class which featured Dorian Grey and a blackberry. But for the sake of my criticism, I will admit that I have never written a script. That being said, I think I understand basic things that a viewer expects to see. At the top of this list is the ever troubling issue of bad parenting. I'd say almost half of our reviews feature this problem. Attention academy: start looking at this a bit more carefully.
The parenting here not only features insensitivity to a childhood trauma ("Banish your grandfather from your mind, but keep him from your soul"), examples of extreme vacationing (A monthlong vacation? Do people even do that anymore?), and evidence of previous child abuse ("Please don't hit him!"), but there is also a startling lack of discipline.
In the most memorable scene of the movie, Joshua must stop his family from eating an unexpected feast because, obviously, it will turn them into plants if they consume it. To stop them, he decides to take a giant pee on the food. Ignore the obvious question of how he had that much urine inside of him, and skip forward to the part where he isn't punished at all! He is carried to his room, given a stern warning about hospitality ("This is hospitality, and you can't piss on hospitality! I won't allow it!"), and that's it. There is no punishment whatsoever. Now, as much as I question the other gaping plot-holes that appear in Troll 2, it is this one that absolutely befuddles me. If my child whipped out his penis and relieved himself on a home cooked meal, you had better believe there would have been some kind of consequence. This kind of lax parenting is something I cannot get behind.
In all fairness, there was a good learning lesson somewhere in there, from father to son. In his old age, whenever he hasn't been able to eat his fill, Joshua will know the proper way to stop the very real threat of HUNGERPAINS. You tighten your belt "JUST ONE LOOP", and the hugnerpains will be easier to bear. Especially if you have had a hungry childhood, which Joshua's father absolutely has, as shown by the fact that he challenges his only son to a starving contest completely unprovoked.
That's the kind of workmanship we're dealing with here. What we're trying to tell you is that this movie is unmatched in every department. Brilliance. Absolute brilliance. The severe plot holes (that we somehow didn't mind), inexplicable forest music, the goblin witch with a severe case of herpes, the way in which we questioned whether or not the movie skipped parts, the seemingly impossible magical abilities of the goblins, and the seamless way the writers explore both phobia and fetish of everything vegetable, all collided together perfectly in a medley of wonder.
But wait, what happened to that popcorn guy?
We just will never know. And that's surprisingly alright with us.
Disclaimer: Sometimes we accidentally see movies that must be written about, and we cannot always collect all members of the blogging crew to write about them. We apologize for being without Lauren.