Watching shows or movies with my children is something I cherish. Now that my youngest is 8-years-old and my oldest is 17-years-old, with a 12-year-old in between, there are not often times when we all come together and sit enthralled by a movie or a series.
Today, the kids and I sat together and watched Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans. We have watched Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia the series on Netflix and we very much enjoyed it. This Rise of the Titans branch-off released on Netflix while we were on vacation last week, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The film is the finale of the Tales of Arcadia franchise by Guillermo del Toro.
For those of you familiar with the series, you’ll be pleased to know that Rise of the Titans includes all members of the main cast in the series. We’ve moved from wizards to titans in a year’s time. Our favorite trollhunters have to face an evil Arcane Order, stopping them before the destroy earth as we know it. Each character places a pivotal roll in saving the earth from being “reborn.” Reborn in this movie means the Earth gets erased of all life. It’s not a good thing.
Jeff Danna is a Canadian composer who created the score for this movie. It’s pretty phenomenal and without the score the scenes would have been less impactful. The music, for me, brought so much more emotion into the horrifying moments where beloved characters were killed and into the truly heroic moments. Please note, those moments were often back-to-back.
Aliens, Wizards and Robots Oh My
Fans of Guillermo del Toro will recognize to Pacific Rim while watching the titan fight scenes. However, if you’re a true fan of the Trollhunter series there will be many other eggs throughout the movie which makes it quite rewarding to loyalists.
Before I get into the details, which will include spoilers, I should share that you really can’t watch this movie without having seen the others, or at least the series. The characters and plot of this movie are very much dependent on what we’ve learned about how magic works prior to this movie. I love the series, and it’s really fun to watch for the whole family. I highly recommend you watch this movie now if you’ve seen the others. If you haven’t seen the others, then I suggest starting with the original series on Netflix.
View the Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans trailer
As I said earlier, this movie serves as the full-length feature film sequel to the Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia and also the conclusion to the Tales of Arcadia trilogy. Jim Lake Jr., Claire Nunez, Toby Domzaski, Stuart, Steve Palchuck, Aja, Krel, Douxie, Nari, Blinky, Aarghaumont, Archie there really are too many characters to list, but they are all so awesome and important in the storyline. Seriously guys, I know this is an animated movie, but these characters have had such growth over the years, the writing really is fantastic.
The movie starts out with a crazy chase scene between a subway train and a taco truck. The chase ends in a firey crash where the evil Arcane Order ends up snatching who they think is Nari, but is really Douxie who swapped bodies with at the last minute. It’s a super intense, very fast paced intro to the movie and things really don’t slow down much. This movie packs a punch.
7 kisses is very serious
Very early on in the movie Steve and his alien girlfriend Princess Aja are reunited. While their reunion is nice to see, I could have done without the ridiculous pregnancy part of the story. Apparently, folks, the 7th kiss on planet Akiridion-5 instantly makes the male in a relationship pregnant. Yeah, my kids thought it was silly, but I could have done without it. I will say that later in the movie when things seem to be most bleak, Steven giving birth to several alien babies is kind of a light spot and comic relief is needed. Plus, seeing a pregnant Steve eat pickles with ice cream gave us a chuckle as well.
The animation of the Titans in this movie probably could have been done a bit better. At least the frozen ice one, I felt it fell flat. There was a scene where it left a trail of frozen destruction behind it as it stumbled into the Arcadia State Park, but we don’t really get to see it. The titan made of fire was illustrated pretty awesomely, but again it’s leaving a firey trail that we don’t get to really see during its travels. However, the titan controlled by Nari is done beautifully. I really love how her character is portrayed through the titan and how it also shows Nari as being one with the Earth as an environmental element.
Green glowing stones
Thanks to Stuart and his Taco Truck if you are not craving tacos by the time this movie is complete, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Stuart is the alchemist of sorts in this movie. He helps to fix Jim’s trollhunter amulet just in the knick of time. The missing piece of the amulet ends up coming from a green stone the infamous Excalibur sword. Jim and his friends have to work together to get the sword out of the stone. off of the stone, and sends Stuart off to replace the newly made amulet with Excalibur’s stone.
The other green glowing item is the sphere that Claire, Blinky, Archie & Charlemagne find in Hong Kong. Nari informs JIm that the trollhunter must make the ninth configuration and the krohnisfere will make it right. We have no idea what that means until the end of the movie.
Don’t think. Become.
Throughout the fight to save the world we lose several characters. The second most difficult loss one for me was Strickler. He had proposed to Jim’s Mom Barbara and they were so happy together. Strickler had once been a mortal enemy, but through the series Barbara’s love and Jim’s sheer perseverance made him see that he was fighting for the wrong side. So when Strickler makes the ultimate sacrifice it is crushing.
But if you’re ever going to cry during an animated movie, it’s going to be when Jim and the crew realize that Toby has died. Toby died helping Jim, as a sidekick does, without his final efforts to stop the evil Bellroc, the amulet never would have made it to Jim in time to armor up and kiss some Arcane Order ass. So when Jim is holding Toby’s hand as he takes his last breath, I could not hold back the waterworks.
Destiny is a gift some go their entire lives, living existences of quiet desperation, never learning the truth that what feels as though a burden pushing down upon our shoulders is actually a sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights. Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor, that to strive and triumph in the face of fear is what it means to be a hero. Don’t think, become.”Blinky, Trollhunters
A life of almost, is a life of never
They could have ended the movie on a bittersweet, not perfect note and I wish they had. Toby died, yes, it was heartbreaking. Life is heartbreaking sometimes, and probably should be even in cartoons. Did I want Toby to die? Certainly not. But did I expect Jim to end up having the power to turn back time, completely start over and pass the proverbially baton over to an unknowing Toby? No. I wish the story had ended as the word being saved because some really amazing characters lost their lives as noble heroes.
Instead of a noble ending, the writers created a way for Jim to go back in time. He uses a green stone, not unlike the one from Excalibur’s sword, but this one is inside of the krohnisfere that Claire and friends retrieved in Hong Kong. He goes back to the very beginning of the series. No one else has any memory of all they went through. He then kind of acts as the puppeteer. He chooses not to become the Trollhunter and instead send Toby down that path.
I would have given this movie a solid 9 out of 10, but because of that going back in time element, I’m knocking it down to a 7 out of 10. Truly, it’s a great series, a great trilogy and I recommend watching it, especially if you can watch as a family.