(Clips from the movie play)
MarzGurl Loves Don Bluth: A Troll in Central Park
October 27, 2011
MarzGurl (vo): A Troll in Central Park has been given a lot of bad press, even here at Channel Awesome, but is it, in fact, Don Bluth's worst movie? Well, I don't know about that. Is it good? Ha ha, no, not really. It sure is pretty to look at, though. In 1994, this piece of animation hit theaters and really, a lot of things that the Nostalgia Critic brings up in his review are honestly true. The movie has little to no substance, that's really its biggest downfall. I don't know if I'm personally going to have terribly much to say about it because there's so little substance that if I start picking at things, it would probably basically be the same problem with the movie over and over again. There are some animated features that have content for most children and adults, but here, I literally found nothing aimed at the parents that will be bringing their kids to watch this. We at least have some old classic Don Bluth movie actors; the leading role of Stanley is voiced by Dom DeLuise.
Stanley: Hello, my pretties! Hello, hello, hello! Daddy's home! (giggles)
MarzGurl (vo): The dopey husband of the queen of the trolls is voiced by Charles Nelson Riley.
Llort: Nothing, just something from the swamp, my dear. (chuckles)
MarzGurl (vo): This would mark the last time either of them would be in a Don Bluth movie. Stanley is some kind of good troll with a green thumb, like, it's literally green with the magic to make plants grow. Sometimes, he seems to have it under control; other times, it seems like it doesn't matter if his thumb slips up, a flower will just grow unintentionally. Gnorga, the queen of the trolls, however, has a gray thumb, which turns things into stone. It doesn't look like any other trolls in this community have magic thumbs; I'd be intensely interested to find out just how these thumbs work, how these trolls got their thumbs or why nobody else has them, but of course, it's completely unexplained. Some of the songs in the movie are okay, but frankly, the first one we're given doesn't exactly start us off with much hope.
Gnorga (singing): It feels delicious, to be so vicious, I'm Gnorga, the queen of mean!
MarzGurl (vo): Stanley is, of course, caught growing flowers. It's suggested that Stanley, rather than being turned to stone, gets banished to someplace where nothing ever grows. I assume they were aiming for New York City, as in, the streets itself, but it appears they missed their precise mark and threw Stanley into Central Park. Really, we could just end the movie right there, I wish we could; the trolls get what they want, Stanley gets what he wants, things are settled, but this is only about ten minutes into the movie. Now to make things worse, we have to be introduced to a pair of unattended children; Rosie is a toddler who can barely speak.
Rosie: Go, go.
MarzGurl (vo): And Gus is a spoiled brat of a child with one of those awful rat tail buzzcuts.
Gus: (to his father) Why can't we ever do what I want to do?! I wanna do what I wanna do!
MarzGurl (vo): When the kids don't get what they want, they sneak out past their inattentive nanny and go to Central Park where Gus can play with his boat. My question is, why did Gus bring his sister at all? He specifically invited her to come along.
Gus: Hey, Rosie, want to go with me?
MarzGurl (vo): What older brother actually wants to take his little sister with him anywhere? Anyway, he sucks at being an older brother and allows her to walk through shallow, drownable water unnoticed down into a hole where Stanley is hiding on his little patch of green. Stanley, I get that you're unhappy, but you've already proven that you can make tons more green than just that little patch. Even if you've had a bad experience outside the park, that shouldn't ruin the fact that you have a green thumb. Well, Rosie and Stanley get along great, I guess Rosie has inspired Stanley to start growing things again. And now we have this mystical green experience.There isn't really any content here, it's just pretty. It's what Don Bluth is good at, I suppose.
Stanley (singing): A somewhere like nowhere else you've ever seen, that's absolutely green
MarzGurl (vo): Gus slides in, finally, and at that moment, just for one brief moment, it's like the movie becomes self-aware.
Flowers (singing): Troll, troll, he's a troll, troll, troll
Gus: Stop saying that! He can't be a troll because there's no such...things...as trolls. Uh-oh, talking flowers! This is weird.
MarzGurl (vo): There's a lot of singing and dancing, but again, there's not a lot of content. We're nearly halfway through the movie already and it doesn't really feel like terribly much of anything has happened. Back in Troll Land, Gnorga sees Rosie crying and she loves it, but in the process, she also sees Stanley, not in pain, not unhappy at all. Frankly, I don't fully understand why they even care at this point. Stanley's off away from everybody, banished forever and has nothing to do with the daily lives of all those nasty trolls in Troll Land. I supposed it's established a little bit later that Stanley somehow ruins the reputation for trolls everywhere, but I want to know how. Who else besides the queen was able to see that Stanley was happy and alive in Central Park? What newspapers are reporting on this? And anyway, it sounded like trolls have never really ever been to New York or knew what was in it, so it isn't like there's a group of trolls in the city being mean to humans all the time and Stanley's getting in the way of their work, and if he is, we aren't shown anything that establishes this, it's just a guess on my part. Anyway, Gnorga makes Gus cry in an attempt to drown Stanley, but Stanley magics Gus's broken toy boat into a bigger toy boat. Wait, his green thumb can change the size of objects? It can do that? Well, Gus saves his sister from drowning and quits crying, now we have more pretty scenery.
Stanley & Chorus (singing): Welcome to my world, a little world of mine
MarzGurl (vo): You know, we just had another song exactly like this, I wish the movie would just do something new. At any rate, Stanley survives drowning, so the queen is still pissed. She and her husband ride a tornado into Central Park to finish the job themselves.
Gnorga: (chuckling; bicycle bell rings)
MarzGurl (vo): (laughs) Okay, this made me chuckle for just a second because it's absolutely ludicrous. The queen chases the kids around a busted up Central Park and kidnaps Rosie. Gus goes back to Stanley to ask for his help in saving Rosie. Stanley refuses because much like his flowers, he's a pansy.
Gus: You'll never have a dream come true and you know why? (pants) Because you're too scared to fight for what you believe in! You're a coward!
MarzGurl (vo): Man, that actually somewhat defined the whole movie; nothing ever happens because our main character is too busy hiding in his hole playing make believe with his flowers and only here at the final 1/5th of the movie does anything even remotely start to happen. So Gus has to do the work to save his sister. He gets turned into a troll and somewhat fails, however. But finally, Stanley shows up in the broken boat, oh, and now it's huge and it can fly? Where is it established that Stanley can do this kind of magic along with the power of plants? Anyway, a magic thumb war happens and Stanley appears to have defeated Gnorga by covering her in flowers, but before she's completely turned into a rosebush,she instructs Gus to touch Stanley with his thumb of stone. Luckily, they manage to fly in through their bedroom window before crashing and dying and as Gnorga turns into a bush, a completely unsummoned tornado comes along to take her and her husband...somewhere, I don't know, it just seems like a really rushed ending to me. The kid turns back into a kid and the next morning, he takes Stanley out to the park where Gus snaps his fingers and turns on a green thumb. Wait, how did that work? Uh, forget it, Stanley comes back to life through the power of green-again, how did the green thumb have the power to do that?-and it's assumed that things end happily the way they're supposed to.
Let's be perfectly honest, this is a movie made for children. I mean, really young children, I mean, children you just want to shut up for a little bit. This isn't a "you're a bad parent" movie, you just want your little brat to get flashy colors for a little bit while you sit on the couch and put your feet on the coffee table for about an hour for some change. And that's another thing about the movie, it isn't particularly long, it's barely over an hour, which says to me that they really couldn't figure out how to put actual exposition into their story. Dom DeLuise's inclusion is nice, but it falls flat because Dom doesn't have anybody fun to bounce back and forth with. Part of what made him so great in All Dogs go to Heaven was his relationship and banter with Burt Reynolds. In this movie, the only people Stanley has to talk to is a toddler who says the occasional single word and Gus, a bratty child who he keeps trying to convince to daydream a whole bunch. So in conclusion, I think the movie only suffers because there isn't much of a movie there to begin with. Otherwise, if you just want to watch a pretty cartoon about dancing flowers, well, I can hardly think of a better movie to do that with than this one.