Western Animation: A Troll in Central Park
: Yes I know, love lumps. I quite agree.
Gnorga: I won't have him growing any more of those things!
: (thinks for a moment) DONE!
—Queen Gnorga and King Llort, just before banishing Stanley
to New York.
A 1994 animated film made by Don Bluth
. Both he
and his fans
wished he hadn't.
Stanley is a weird troll
. He is kind, gentle, loves flowers, and he has a literal Green Thumb
that makes plants (talking, dancing, singing
plants, to boot!) grow wherever he touches. Unfortunately, all of these, particularly his flower growing, are strictly taboo in the Troll Kingdom,
so he has to keep all of his plants secretly holed up in his house.
When caught due to a rose planting gone horribly wrong
, instead of punishing him by turning him into stone
, the queen of the trolls, is persuaded by her husband Llort to banish Stanley to a place that is a nature lover's worst nightmare
— New York City
! While hiding out under a bridge in Central Park, he meets a boy and his little sister, Gus and Rosie, and takes them on an adventure that's 50% Tastes Like Diabetes
and 50% horror. All in all, a very
The film had a budget of $23,000,000 and only grossed $71,368 domestically, which is less than one-third of 1% of its budget, making it one of the biggest box office bombs
in the history of animated films (formerly the
biggest until Delgo
came along). It currently holds 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes
, resulting in a critical disaster (It is, after all, a tired pastiche of children's filler, poor dialogue and annoying characters).
Tropes featured include...
- 0% Approval Rating: Apparently what starts happening to Gnorga and Llort when the trolls learn of Stanley's punishment failing.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Stanley in the climax, after spending most of his time with the kids, backs down from helping Gus save Rosie out of fear of being stoned by Gnorga, which prompts Gus to chew him out and leave on his own. Minutes later, Stanley changes his mind and ends up saving the day.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Whoever writes the headlines for the "Wursta Times" is fond of this trope.
- Aerith and Bob: Gnorga, Llort... and Stanley?
- All Trolls Are Different: This one can make magical flowers grow.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Trolls besides Stanley and perhaps Llort.
- And I Must Scream: The final fate of Gnorga, who is turned into a rose bush by Stanley and planted in the palace garden in Troll World. Also happens to a bat she turns to stone during her Villain Song, despite the film clearly stating that being turned to stone is equivalent to death. This also happens to Stanley himself when Gus turns him to stone against his will.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The trolls celebrate Gnorga's defeat at the end of the movie, including her husband.
- Anti-Villain: King Llort is a Type IV; while he's not really a "good" guy and directly assists Gnorga, he certainly has some sympathetic qualities and tags along out of fear of his own wife. At the end when Gnorga is defeated, he takes up rule over the now much more peaceful Troll Kingdom, and is quite glad his wife is turned into a rose bush.
- Applied Phlebotinum - Stanley's Thumb apparently can do ANYTHING in this movie if he can dream hard enough.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Stanley in his first attempt to try and confront Gnorga, donning a hastily assembled "armor" to try and rush her, only to get attacked by Gnorga offscreen and sent packing back.
"I'm going! I'm going!" (BOOM!) "*running back to the bridge* I can't! I'm not going!"
- Ax-Crazy: Gnorga.
- Badass: Also Gnorga. No, really. Or as close as you'll get to one in a movie like this.
- Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: The mindset of every troll except Stanley and perhaps Llort.
- Beam-O-War: Done between Gnorga and Stanley in the films climax; its a Thumb War, no less.
- Big Damn Hero: Stanley attempts this twice; the first time, he attempts to rush Gnorga head-on in an off the cuff "armor", only to get attacked by her and sent running back under the bridge. The second time, he does this to save Rosie via his flying boat just before the final battle.
- The Big Rotten Apple: New York was supposed to be the one place Stanley couldn't possibly enjoy himself.
- Black Magic: Gnorga uses this.
- Black and White Morality
- Captain Obvious: "Punishment isn't supposed to be nice! It's supposed to be punishing!"
- Card-Carrying Villain: Gnorga, who fits into all three types; she calls herself "The Queen of Mean" and has a song number about it, and her whole kingdom's code runs on the Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad mentality and will kill anyone who defies her tyrannical rules, and obviously reaps pleasure from death and destruction, as she says in her song number
"It feels delicious to be so vicious, I'm Gnorga, the Queen of Mean! (Mean!)"
- Changed My Mind, Kid: When Stanley appears to save Gus at the end.
- Chekhov's Gun: Gus' toy boat and Stanley's ability to make it grow and fly via magic ends up being used by Stanley in the climax to save Rosie from falling to her death, and allow him and the kids to escape Gnorga.
- Chekhov's Skill: Zigzagged with the magic thumb Gus gets when Gnorga turns him into a troll. At first, it only allows him to turn stuff into stone, and allows Gnorga to control it from a distance if needed, which is used to have Gus turn Stanley to stone against his will. However, when Gnorga's troll spell wears off, Gus' thumb turns into a green thumb like Stanley's, which he uses to restore Stanley back to normal.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: One of the films intended aesops is that anything is possible if you believe enough in your dreams.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Gnorga: Worse than death? Slow and painful?! Does that look like MISERY to you?
Llort: It looks nice, very nice, don't you think so, shnooksie poo?
Gnorga: Yes, I think so! That's precisely what's WRONG, YOU MORON!!!
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Llort, whenever he tries to reason with Gnorga.
- Conspicuous CGI: The giant ball of hardened lava Gnorga uses to send Stanley to New York.
- The puppet theater from BLAM mentioned above.
- Convection Schmonvection: During his trial, Stanley is imprisoned in a cage set on a pillar surrounded by a very close pool of boiling lava. When Gnorga decides to banish Stanley to New York, she uses her magic to swirl and harden the lava around Stanley's cage into a large ball (the magic obviously explaining why it dosen't harm him) which she then sends flying off.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Stanley's exile.
- Crapsack World: The Troll Kingdom appears to be this; a very dull, dingy swampland with no plant life whose inhabitants appear to be Always Chaotic Evil and abide by the Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad mentality, and are ruled by the tyrannical, vain Gnorga, who will severely punish anyone who dares stray from the proper conduct of trolls.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Rosie, ye Gods. She's also Cute but Cacophonic.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Gnorga: Punishment isn't supposed to be nice! It's supposed to be punishing!
- Dirty Coward: Gus accuses Stanley of being this when he refuses to help Gus save Rosie from Gnorga, out of fear of being stoned, soon leading to him to outright calling him one in his Reason You Suck Speech.
': Oh come on, stop being such a scaredy cat! Stanley
: Eh, but what can I do? Gus
: What about all your powers, 'Mister-You-Gotta-Believe-Green-Thumb'
: Oh, no, no, no, my prestidigitation, is no match for Gnorga's magic— Gus
: Oh, SURE!
You're just saying that, 'cause you're scared to fight her! (flowers gasp)
- Disproportionate Retribution: When Gnorga finds out that Stanley is happy in New York, she goes OUT OF HER WAY to travel to Earth and turn him to stone like she wanted to in the first place. Hand Waved by a newspaper article stating that Stanley's surprisingly soft sentence has caused Gnorga and Llort to lose their authority in the eyes of the people.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Which actually manages to take up quite a sizeable chunk of the entire movie.
- Disney Death: Rosie, in style of Disney Villain Death.
- The Ditz: Llort.
- Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: A small squirrel Stanley meets has a minor subplot.
- Evil Is Hammy: Gnorga, oh so very much. This trope is her entire personality. Her live delivery is so over the top, it sounds like she's going to burst a blood vessel with each syllable.
- Evil Laugh: Gnorga does this constantly.
- Evil Overlooker: Gnorga and Llort on the poster pictured here. They're less prominent in the image than most examples, though.
- It feels delicious to be so vicious!: Gnorga says this during her Villain Song.
- Expy: Gnorga is a watered down Maleficent, mixed with traits of Madame Medusa and Ursula. she also has similarities to another queen of trolls, from the old Hanna-Barbera special "The Little Troll Prince" (who, coincidentally, was also voiced by Cloris Leachman).
- Fat and Skinny: Gnorga and Llort, respectively.
- Fate Worse Than Death: What Llort inaccurately insists Stanley's exile to Earth would be.
- Fill It With Flowers: This is Stanley's dream.
- Fish out of Water: Stanley when he is banished to New York, although its clear he wasn't exactly at home in the Troll Kingdom either.
- For the Evulz: Gnorga's modus operendi.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Gnorga, who is umambigulously portrayed as a sadistic tyrant. Even her husband celebrates her defeat.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors/Dark Is Evil/Light Is Good: Stanley is easily the lightest-coloured of all the trolls in the film.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Stanley attempting to grow a rose in his house garden ends up getting way out of hand, to where it grows through the roof of his home, tipping off the other trolls that he is breaking Gnorga's law by growing flowers.
- Green Aesop: Apparently the entire world should be covered in flowers and plants, whether the rest of the world likes it or not.
- Green Thumb: Stanley has a literal one. Gus at the end.
- Inverted with the other trolls: their thumbs turn stuff into stone.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: When Stanley confronts Gnorga in the finale, a shot of her ugly mug gets a little too close to the camera for comfort...
Gnorga: Well! What do we have here?!
- Hanging Judge: Inverted by Llort, who, for no apparent reason, goes to great lengths to prevent Stanley from being turned to stone.
- Heel-Face Turn: Gnorga briefly mentions being afraid that other trolls might do this if she doesn't make an example of Stanley. Ironically, her attempt to thwart this ends up having the whole kingdom do this in the end.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Llort. Throughout the film he seems to be against killing or stoning anybody, but instead suggests a Fate Worse Than Death for Stanley. In the middle he does everything he can to stop Gnorga from going to Central Park to kill Stanley, but once they get there he actively helps her capture the children. And at the very end, he seems to be happy that his wife has been turned into a helpless rose bush.
- Henpecked Husband: Llort, the King of the Trolls.
- Hidden Elf Village: The Troll Kingdom is implied to be this, given its completely isolated and far off from the outside world.
- Hufflepuff House: Gnorga mentions a "Goblin Ville" and "Gremlin Land" in addition to Troll World. Hell, Troll World itself counts, since the first ten minutes take place in it and it is never seen again apart from Gnorga's bedroom.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Implied by Llort's speech, but never actually used.
- "I Am" Song: "Gnorga, The Queen of Mean".
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Llort.
- Irony: Albeit very subtle irony. Before Gnorga is about to exile Stanley to New York, King Llort encourages her by saying, "Just think about what they'll say about you in the newspapers!" Later in the film, Gnorga is reading a newspaper with headlines reading, "SURPRISINGLY SOFT SENTENCE FOR STANLEY."
- "I Want" Song: "Absolutely Green".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gus is, to be frank, a brat. However, he does care for his sister, and goes to rescue her from Gnorga even when Stanley is too scared to help.
- Kangaroo Court: Gnorga's "trial" on Stanley, where its clear they already plan to convict him, and that the trial is otherwise just a formality.
- Karma Houdini: In a way, Llort, who becomes the acting ruler of Troll World at the end of the film, despite being entirely responsible for all the chaos that has happened (if not for him, Gnorga would have simply "Stoned" Stanley). He still gets bitten by the dog, but that's nothing new.
- Karmic Transformation: Gnorga is turned into a flower bush. She also briefly turns Gus into a Troll.
- Lighter and Softer: Arguably the lightest and softest film Don Bluth has ever made.
- Lonely Rich Kids: Gus and Rosie (particularly the former).
- Lovable Coward: Stanley until near the end.
- Magic Mirror: Gnorga's crystal lets her spy on anyone and zoom in on the sounds of children crying.
- Market-Based Title: Named Stanley's Magic Garden in international releases.
- Married to the Job: Gus and Rosie's parents.
- Mood Whiplash: The sickeningly saccharine dream sequences that suddenly change into horror as Gnorga attacks to destroy Stanley's joy.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much
- The Napoleon: Gnorga, and how!
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: While Stanley is initially shown to merely have a magic Green Thumb that makes flowers grow and come to life, later on when he meets Rosie and Gus, he is revealed to have "prestidigitation" abilities which allow such feats as making a toy boat grow to full size and fly, and create a dreamlike world from Stanley's own mind. This ability isn't even foreshadowed prior to those scenes.
- Gnorga's magical powers are certainly implied to be quite flexible, but her ability to control Gus' own magic thumb from a distance against his will in the films climax comes off as a really blatant example of this.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Llort's alternative sentence to have Stanley banished instead of being stoned is not only the mainspring of the films plot, but also indirectly leads to the downfall of Gnorga's rule.
- No Accounting for Taste: Gnorga and Llort.
- Noodle Incident: When Stanley is on trial, Llort mentions that Stanley has repeatedly broken the rules of the Troll Kingdom many times in the past, implying this isn't the first time he's been caught growing his plants.
- No Indoor Voice: Gnorga; the bulk of her dialogue is quite loud and over the top.
- No Ontological Inertia: Stanley's "Dreamboat" gradually disappearing as he turns to stone, and Gnorga's tornado magically taking away her and Llort when she is completely turned into a rose bush. Curiously, while her spell that turned Gus into a troll wears off, it leaves him with a magic green thumb, and Stanley doesn't revert back to normal.
- No Respect Guy: Llort.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The parents are voiced by British actors and it's pretty easy to tell.
- Place Worse Than Death: What Llort insists Earth will be for Stanley, but is ultimately subverted.
- Punch Clock Villain: Llort.
- Punny Headlines: The newspaper in the troll world is called the "Wursta Times".
- Psychopathic Manchild: Gnorga.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gus gives a brief one to Stanley during the climax of the film, when he refuses to help Gus save Rosey out of fear of being stoned by Gnorga.
Stanley: Gus! Don't you understand?! In the troll world, darkness always triumphs over light!
Gus: You know what, Stanley? You'll never have a dream come true, and you know why?! Because you're too scared to fight for what you believe in! YOU'RE A COWARD!
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Used to ridiculous extremes when Gnorga and Llort not only go to Earth personally to kill Stanley, but do not bring any other trolls whatsoever.
- Running Gag: Gnorga's dog keeps biting Llort.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In at least one point, Stanley refers to troll powers as "prestidigitation" instead of "magic." This is even an inaccurate use, since prestidigitation refers to stage magic and not supernatural powers. This might make sense when you consider Stanley was trying to emphasize that Gnorga's magic is much more powerful than his. And "Prestidigitation" is derived from the word for "finger"... perhaps it's meant to be a too-subtle pun?
- Sdrawkcab Name: "Llort" is of roughly the same subtlety as "Nilbog".
- Significant Anagram: Gnorga is one letter away from being one for gorgon.
- Social Services Does Not Exist: The parents leave their kids with the housekeeper expecting her to babysit them. Housekeepers aren't babysitters.
- Spoiled Brat: Gus. A rich kid with a nasty temper, whom the Queen describes as being troll-like. He does grow out of it though.
- Stealth Pun: The newspaper Gnorga reads is named "Wursta Times".
- The Stoner: Stanley's squirrel friend looks like this...
- Sugar Bowl: The movie REALLY loves flowers and dreams and stuff.
- Sugar Apocalypse: When Gnorga comes to Earth and destroys Central Park.
- Taken for Granite: Gnorga has a Black thumb that can turn anything into stone.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailer shows Stanley turning Gnorga into a rose bush, which is the climax of the film.
- Transformation Trauma: Gus getting turned into a troll, Stanley getting slowly turned to stone. The bat turned into stone by Gnorga early in the film also seems to have felt quite a bit of pain.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Inverted. Llort is probably the least ugly male troll in the movie, while Gnorga is, frankly, the opposite case - but subverted considering how trolls see the world - she is probably quite a catch, while he....
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight - Near the end of the movie, Gus's father doesn't seem all that surprised when he sees his son sitting on the steps with a really detailed stone statue of a sad troll. And then the entire city gets overgrown with plants, without much notice.
- Gus's first reaction to seeing the troll and the dancing flowers: "This is weird".
- You'd think that there'd be more of a fuss over Central Park being completely devastated by Gnorga's tornado.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Gnorga, compared to the rest of the film.
- Villain Song: "Gnorga, The Queen of Mean".
- World-Healing Wave: At the end, which restores the damage Gnorga did to Central Park, and subsequently covers all of New York in plant life.
- "The world's economy is going to collapse because New York has been consumed by a giant hedge!" -The Nostalgia Critic