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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trollhunters is an action-packed series based on the Guillermo del Toro book about a mild-mannered teen who becomes a hero in a secret world of trolls. The story follows the protagonist in both dimensions -- the trolls' world and his regular world as a high school student -- as he stands up to bad guys in both scenarios. There are excellent themes about friendship, loyalty, courage, and fighting the good fight throughout, but the scares (trolls fighting, snarling, and in peril) likely are too much for very young kids. Older ones and tweens will enjoy this visually impressive DreamWorks production and its principled teen hero.
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What's the story?
In TROLLHUNTERS, a teen named Jim Lake (voiced by Anton Yelchin) discovers a magical amulet that unlocks a hidden world inhabited by trolls and protected by a legendary Trollhunter. Now in possession of the amulet, Jim unwittingly assumes that responsibility, and he's pulled into an epic struggle between good and evil in this secret dimension. But he's not alone in the fight, as wise Blinky (Kelsey Grammer) acts as a mentor for the newcomer to the trolls' world, and peace-minded trolls join the ranks to fight the likes of Bular (Ron Perlman), the sworn enemy of Trollhunters. He also has his best friend, Toby (Charlie Saxton), right there with him as he navigates the Trolls' world and the perils of his own teenage life.
Is it any good?
This thoroughly enjoyable, unlikely hero tale is visually spectacular and delivers some familiar -- but always refreshing -- messages about heroism. It's easy to root for Jim from the moment you meet him. He's unassuming, he dotes on his hardworking mom, and he's unfailingly loyal, not to mention he's the first to step up to correct injustice. The best part? He doesn't see himself as a hero, which keeps him humble and plays well to the story's theme concerning individual potential.
With DreamWorks on board, you can bet a project will be easy on the eyes, and that's certainly the case with Trollhunters. Of course, the flip side is that the scares are that much scarier, especially when it comes to the mean Bular and, to a lesser degree, his duplicitous human counterpart who plots against Jim in the human world as well. The bottom line? Trollhunters is bound to delight fans of a variety of ages, but if your kids are sensitive to scares, or to the suggestion of monsters' existence, you'll want to check this one carefully before giving it the OK.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to have courage. Can you be scared and brave at the same time? What kinds of things give you courage when you need it? What other character strengths go along with this one?
Who are the villains in Trollhunters? Does it make it scarier to have a bad guy hiding in plain sight in Jim's human life? Can we always know people's true intentions?
What examples of friendship do you see in this story? How does friendship inspire you to be a better person? Is this true of Jim and his friends?
- Premiere date: December 23, 2016
- Cast: Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Great Boy Role Models, High School, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Courage
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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