TV-Y7 for being just a bit too scary to show to my three-year-old, despite the fact that she watched it through protests of "This is too scary, Daddy." Yeah, I might be a bad dad. But the older two kids were really into it. They love Hilda, so a Hilda movie is right up their alley. If you really want to split hairs, technically the eponymous character is nude throughout, but that's just because she's a troll. There's no traditional nudity, however.
DIRECTOR: Andy Coyle
Oh man, they just released the list of Oscar nominated short films for 2022. I need to make sure I have no backlog of movies because there's going to be a glut of posts before the Oscars actually happen. Man, I love this time of year so much, but part of me just gets so overwhelmed during this time. That's okay. I'm just wondering when I'm going to finish the movies that I had already started. Oh, to have my problems.
I thought that I knew the Hilda mythos. It's one of those Netflix shows that I straight up get excited to watch with my kids. They aren't allowed to watch new episodes without me. But I'll admit, my attention is always pulled somewhere else while watching this kind of stuff. That's the problem with having a kitchen that overlooks the living room: you always feel the need to do the dishes when Hilda is on. I'm pretty sure that's embroidered on a pillow somewhere. But I thought that, for sure, that if Hilda had a movie (as it clearly did), it would be something that a general audience could get behind. You know? Welcome new viewers and whatnot? Nope, this is straight up a deep cut mythology film that apparently takes place after the season two finale, which I clearly knew nothing about and don't remember to save my life. Maybe my kids broke the rules and watched it without me. That sounds like them, the little rascals. But it is hard sometimes watching a movie when you don't remember the deep cut canon going on in a show. I eventually figured out a lot of it, but season two must have been a heck of a cliffhanger to make Hilda a troll at the end of the season.
But that doesn't mean that Hilda and the Mountain Troll had nothing to offer me. It just means that it will kind of serve as something like X-Files: Fight the Future did and provide entertainment in a limited fashion. After all, Hilda --the show and the film --are both gorgeous. Mimicking the style of the graphic novels, these examples of minimalist art coupled with the twee and enthusiastic fantasy world of Hilda is just the best. I don't know if the filmmakers were trying to convince anyone that Hilda an the Mountain King was anything more than simply an extended episode with grander consequences than a traditional episode. The art style doesn't really change. It simply screams out that Trollsberg is going to be destroyed if Hilda doesn't fix the problem with her friends. That's kind of the thing that The Simpsons Movie did, only The Simpsons Movie looks drastically different than a standard Simpsons episode up to that point.
But I'm glad that the people behind Hilda don't exactly rest on their laurels. There is a pretty motif of the role of parenthood in the film. I don't know if this is a common thing or not --I really do have to think about it --but the movie talks about the nature of appropriate parental sacrifice. Tylla (I think I have the right name based on IMDb) gives over her child, Baba, to the humans as a changeling. Knowing that the troll world is toxic, she knows that her child would do far better behind the walls of Trollberg than they would in the mountain. To do this, she must swap Baba with Hilda, making Hilda a prisoner in the mountain. Like Beauty and the Beast, there's an element of silver lining to Hilda being a troll. She experiences freedom like she's never done before. She's granted superpowers, which seem like a lot of fun. But unlike Beauty and the Beast, Hilda doesn't lose sight of the fact that she's a bird in a gilded cage. She doesn't hate Trylla (boy, will my face be red if I have the wrong name), but she never fails to call her out on the irresponsibility and immorality of this action.
If I had to be the most Englishy English teacher ever and was forced to read themes behind this, I could see this movie potentially being partially anti-refugee. You know I couldn't handle that. I would rip into you like I would anti-vaxxers, but it seems like the folks at Hilda Inc (a company that I have just coined) are aware of the potential message and head that idea off at the pass. The end goes large and in-charge with the notion that there are good trolls and that there are bad trolls like there are good and bad people. The notion of the trolls being allowed to enter Trollberg bothers some people, despite the fact that many people in the city view the integration of the trolls as a positive thing. It would have been really easy for this movie to take the easy path and make this simply an action adventure for the Hilda crew. After all, it is action and fantasy heavy. But folding in that theme, while not necessarily the focus of the film, does elevate it beyond the simple episodic stuff that could be seen on Netflix streaming TV shows. I don't know if it is crafted necessarily as well as theatrical release, but it does the job pretty well.
But watching this reminds me why I don't write about TV, despite the temptation to do so. (I often consider writing about every piece of pop culture I absorb, despite the fact that I already feel burnout about movies.) TV stuff is hard. While the film has an arc, because the film doesn't stand on its own, it is hard to look at the character changes in the protagonists. The heroes of the story must fundamentally stay the way they are. It's not like they aren't flawed. It's just that those flaws are far more innocent and must remain so if the show is to keep going in the format it's built for. It's why Bart Simpson is fundamentally Bart from season one to present, despite having a cinematic film stuck in there.
TV shows are fun. I guess that Hilda and the Mountain King has more in common with TV than movies, but that didn't meant that it was bad. It was just something different that was really difficult to write about.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.