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Fox Home Entertainment presents
A Troll in Central Park (1994)

"There's no end to what you can do if you set your mind to it!"
- Stanley (Dom DeLuise)

Review By: Brian Calhoun   
Published: February 12, 2002

Stars: Dom DeLuise, Cloris Leachman, Charles Nelson Reilly
Other Stars: Jonathon Price, Hayley Mills, Phillip Glasser
Director: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:15m:02s
Release Date: February 19, 2002
UPC: 024543029328
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+BB D-

DVD Review

Every once in while a movie comes along that is severely lacking in merit, yet is also perfect entertainment for the crowd it targets: children four years old and under. To give such a movie a negative review simply because it has few redeeming qualities for adults would be downright spiteful and arrogant. To pragmatically review A Troll in Central Park, I feel I must divide my personality into two distinct sides; the crusty and bitter man that I am, and my four-year-old inner child.Man:My first thoughts while watching Troll were that Don Bluth and company desperately tried to capture the magic of the Disney empire, and forgot to include any of the essence along the way. Right from the get go it is apparent that this is a film with no coherence, as the audience is treated to characters and locations whose presence exist simply for the sake of creating an animated tale. More events happen in the entire seventy-five minutes of Troll than in many three-hour films, although not many of these events succeed in moving the story along in a narrative sense. Children under five might pay attention to Troll simply because there are moving images on their television sets, but this does not mean that there are big lessons to be learned.Child:Stanley the troll (DeLuise) made me very happy. I liked when he first got to New York and found out that his new home was very different than his troll home. Dogs chased him around Central Park, he almost got run over by cars, and then he fell in the salad at a nice restaurant and nearly get eaten by a funny bald man. This whole chain of events made me giggle with glee. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside to hear Stanley sing about giving love and kindness and tell me that "we could all live in a world that is bright and shiny and absolutely green."Man:If Troll has one entertaining factor, it is the voice work by some of the more experienced actors. Dom DeLuise presents an appealing, gentle quality to Stanley the troll; I would certainly like to hear his voice talents on future animated features. Cloris Leachman also provides the right amount of nastiness to the malevolent troll queen, Gnorga. Last but certainly not least, Charles Nelson Reilly delightfully utilizes his exuberant quirkiness in portraying Gnorga's clumsy sidekick, Llort. When it comes down to the big picture however, these achievements provided by such skilled entertainers cannot change the fact that the characters have nothing interesting to say. As a result, the audience can never get a feel for what these people (and trolls) are really about. Some of them even offer close to nothing in the way of substance, such as the little girl Rosie, whose most profound contributions are usually "goo goo gaa gaa." Just a bit more character development might have been a good way to hold the attention of viewers over five.Child:All of the songs made me want to sing and dance and jump around in the air. I was singing them for days after I watched the movie, especially Welcome to My World. While they sing that song, the characters go on a journey full of pretty colors and pictures that made me think about never closing my eyes. Even when I went to sleep at night, I could still see these beautiful worlds inside my head. I hated the mean Queen Gnorga, and I liked it when bad things happened to her. Man:Let's face it. A Troll in Central Park is not for adults, nor is it meant to be. With its thin storyline and unsophisticated characters, it could easily be dismissed as a failure. However, it succeeds on the level to which it strives, providing fun for young children. My inner child certainly found entertainment value throughout.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: I have always found animated features to be exceptionally pleasing on DVD. A Troll in Central Park is certainly no exception, yet the visual quality does not hold up to today's best transfers in the genre. There are times when the 1.78:1 anamorphic picture appears fuzzy and blurred, while pixelizaton and artifacts occasionally spoil the cleanliness of the print. At its very worst, there are a small number of instances where it looks like high quality VHS, though this is rare. As a whole, the animated image exhibits a very pleasing film-like quality, and appears how I imagine a movie like Pinocchio might have looked on a big screen in the 1940s. Along with the film-like presence are sporadic nicks and scrapes, as well as the slightest haze over a few frames. Colors always appear vibrant and strong, rounded out with deep blacks and soothing whites. In general, any deficiencies in picture quality will be inconsequential to anyone other than videophiles, and the overall appearance provides a viewing experience that is sure to delight people of all ages.A 1.33:1 pan & scan version is also offered on side B for adults who just cannot stand widescreen (kids never complain about that kind of stuff).

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: For Dolby 2.0 surround, the soundtrack impressively displays a pleasant and immersive sound quality. Surround presence is strong and effective when necessary, and the music convincingly flows in and out of the mono surround speakers. Stereo separation in the front soundstage is appropriately used, providing nice directional effects in key sequences such as the thunderstorms. Dialogue always sounds natural, which is a pleasant surprise for obviously being ADR-produced. Perhaps the only drawback to the audio is the noticeable lack of bass, save for a few instances of tones below 70Hz. This 2.0 surround track effectively compliments the storyline and is commendable for its overall fidelity.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Baby's Day Out, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, The Man From Snowy River, The PageMaster, The Sandlot
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The back cover states that there is a featurette and theatrical trailer included, but I could not find either of them anywhere. Granted, kids do not usually go bananas over extras, but kids certainly do not like to be teased or lied to. This is exactly what the cover is, one big lying tease. Instead of the theatrical trailer and featurette promised, the only available extra is a selectable icon called Fox Flix, which presents promotional trailers for five films unrelated to Troll. Kids will most likely enjoy these anamorphic, widescreen trailers, so I will refrain from giving this section a failing grade. However, the inclusion of extras that actually have something to do with the main feature would have been nice.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Message to parents: If your kids ask to see this movie, do not deny them the pleasure, they will most likely love it. I can sum up the two basic lessons taught and save you some time and trouble. First, you can accomplish anything with perseverance and love. Secondly, mean people are really bad. That, and they all look like hideous trolls.


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