Troll

With a title like Troll, one expects one of two types of movies: a farce about a juvenile-minded bully who harasses people on social media, or a cheap, B-grade monster movie from the ‘80s.

However, the imagination of director Roar Uthaug (of the Tomb Raider reboot) saw a third option in his mind’s eye: a Hollywood blockbuster with all the routine bells and whistles of the late ’90s monster movies (Godzilla springs to mind).

In the movie, a high-speed train’s construction project digs through an old mountain, unearthing the wrath of a fabled giant monster from pre-Christianity times (the religious aspect plays a small part in the story).

The baffled ministers and the military try to take the monster out that is slowly destroying churches and trampling people, as it makes its way to Oslo, while a paleontologist (Ine Marie Wilmann) and her kooky professor father (Gard B. Eidsvold), scratch their heads to find a peaceful resolution to the calamity and general dumbness of the plot.

Troll is a cliché of a movie, but there is a simple joy in watching something this clichéd unfold. One can’t help but enjoy the breezy, non-serious approach to the story in Doctor G

Troll is a cliché of a movie, but there is a simple joy in watching something this cliché unfold. Yes, it does get boring at times, but the entire gist of the experience is to relive the lost feeling of what was once the golden age of big, dumb blockbusters.

The movie is certainly better than Uthaug’s Hollywood debut, Tomb Raider. Technically, the effects are swell, and the performances okay-ish — two aspects you may want from this type of cinema.

It is not going to win awards, but it will possibly get a sequel if enough people stream the movie.

Doctor G

In what is a continued testament of Pakistan’s perpetual fascination with Bollywood, we have Doctor G, the Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer that debuted on the number one spot on Netflix. This time though, one has to applaud domestic streamers for their good taste.

Directed by Anubhuti Kashyap (sister of Anurag Kashyap, who is also the screenplay’s co-writer), the film, about a not-so-bright aspiring orthopaedic whose grades land him a spot in gynaecology studies, is a light, engaging, unpretentious — though not naïve — film about respecting this particular discipline of medical studies, and the women one has in one’s life.

Subplots highlight the difference between love and friendship — an awkwardly played aspect of the story — and being complacent about the wrong way of approaching relationships.

The latter aspect, in particular, adds a very urban aspect to the film’s storytelling, as we see the lead character’s idol (Indraneil Sengupta) impregnate an underage girl, and his mother’s foray into Tinder to find a life partner.

Though, one doesn’t really understand or agree with some points of view of the narrative — the lead character’s eventual agreement about his inability to understand women, the Tinder aspect of the story, and the cliched writing of Shefali Shah’s character (she plays the head of the gynaecology department who is forever irked with Khurrana’s character) — one can’t help but enjoy the breezy, non-serious approach to the story.

Khurrana has a good sense of signing unorthodox scripts — which is very, very astutely developed by the way. One may disagree with certain aspects of the plot, but that doesn’t take much away from the entertainment factor a well-told tale brings.

Streaming on Netflix Troll and Doctor G are rated suitable for ages over 13 and 18, respectively. Neither has objectionable material though, given the subject matter, Doctor G is not recommended for children

Published in Dawn, ICON, December 18th, 2022

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