A Troll in Central Park
|A Troll in Central Park|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Don Bluth
|Produced by||John Pomeroy
|Written by||Stu Krieger|
Tawny Sunshine Glover
Charles Nelson Reilly
Norman Gimbel (lyrics)
Cynthia Weil (lyrics)
|Edited by||Fiona Trayler|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Family Entertainment|
|Release dates||October 7, 1994|
|Running time||76 min.|
A Troll in Central Park (also known as Stanley's Magic Garden) is a 1994 American animated musical fantasy-comedy film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, creators of Thumbelina, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail. It was released on October 7, 1994 by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment.
The film features the voice talents of Dom DeLuise as Stanley, Phillip Glasser as Gus, Tawny Sunshine Glover as Rosie, Cloris Leachman as Queen Gnorga, Hayley Mills as Hilary, Jonathan Pryce as Alan, and Charles Nelson Reilly as King Llort. It is the last Don Bluth film to star Dom DeLuise. The film failed terribly at the box office, barely earning back 0.3% of its budget, and has been universally dubbed by animation fans as Bluth's worst film.
The film begins in a Kingdom of Trolls, where Stanley (Dom DeLuise) has a magical green thumb with the ability to bring flowers and plants to life at a touch. When he is discovered doing so, the other trolls take him as prisoner to Gnorga (Cloris Leachman), the Queen of the Trolls, who concludes that Stanley "gives a bad name to trolls everywhere" and demands that he be turned to stone. At the behest of her consort King Llort (Charles Nelson Reilly), Gnorga instead banishes Stanley to Central Park where, after a series of mishaps, Stanley hides himself under a bridge. In New York City, two young siblings named Gus and Rosie (Phillip Glasser and Tawny Sunshine Glover) learn that their father Alan (Jonathan Pryce) and mother Hilary (Hayley Mills) cannot take them to Central Park. while left alone with their nanny, Maria, Gus takes Rosie to the Park himself. While playing with Gus's toy boat, Rosie befriends Stanley. When Queen Gnorga discovers Stanley happy in exile, she creates a flood to drown them by making Gus cry, but Stanley enlarges Gus's toy boat to escape. Soon after, Stanley shows the children his own ideals, depicted as a world of his own.
Determined to suppress Stanley, Queen Gnorga sends a tornado to destroy Central Park, and kidnapps Rosie. Gus, having failed to persuade Stanley's help, himself faces Gnorga. In the resulting fight, Gnorga transforms Gus into a troll, while Stanley rescues Rosie. Having arrived, Stanley challenges Gnorga to a thumb-wrestling match, which when Stanley gains advantage, plants roses all around Gnorga's body. As Stanley, Gus, and Rosie escape and celebrate their victory, Gnorga uses Gus's thumb to turn Stanley to stone. Gus and Rosie fall into their apartment and the last of Stanley's power changes Gnorga into a rose bush. Gnorga, Llort and their dog then return to the Kingdom of Trolls, while Gus returns to his human form. The next day, Gus, Rosie, and their parents enter Central Park, where Gus and Rosie place the petrified Stanley on a makeshift pedestal, and attempt to revive him without apparent effect, only to find him revived after a moment's pause. Restored to life, Stanley recreates Central Park and covers Manhattan with flowering plants. In the Kingdom of Trolls, Llort takes Gnorga's place as a kinder ruler. Llort is last seen reading a newspaper with "Gnorga: Queen of Posies" written on it, and Gnorga's pet dog bites him for saying that.
- Dom DeLuise as Stanley
- Phillip Glasser as Gus
- Tawny Sunshine Glover as Rosie
- Cloris Leachman as Gnorga
- Charles Nelson Reilly as Llort
- Jonathan Pryce as Alan
- Hayley Mills as Hillary
Work on A Troll in Central Park began in 1990. In the production, Don Bluth said to his employees that they should put their best in this film, but if they don't, they can "go plant themselves in another garden". A while after he said that, some animators left to work at Disney on Beauty and the Beast. Buddy Hackett and Robert Morley recorded their voices for Stanley and King Llort, but were eventually replaced by Dom DeLuise and Charles Nelson Reilly. And even though the film was completed in 1992, it was never released in theatres until 1994. At that time, the film was originally slated for a March 1994 release, but due to production difficulties and the producers deciding to release Thumbelina first, the film's release date was changed to October 1994.
The film did extremely poorly at the box-office, grossing $71,368 domestically (with a budget of $23,000,000, it grossed less than 0.33% of its budget), making it Don Bluth's lowest-grossing film to date (though not his film to lose the most money overall). Gary Goldman has said the reason for this was that the film was released without any sign of promotion and its release was limited. He also stated that its distributor Warner Bros. did not have any confidence in the film.
Home media releases
A Troll in Central Park was released on VHS by Warner Home Video on January 10, 1995 in the United States and Canada, and many other countries per continent in the 1990s. The UK VHS release title is Stanley's Magic Garden. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film along with Thumbelina on DVD on February 19, 2002.
A Troll in Central Park was critically panned upon its release. It currently has a score of 17% at Rotten Tomatoes based on six reviews (five negative reviews and one positive review). Bluth said in an interview with ToonTalk that "the development of a story is like the development of a child in a womb; it takes time and it must be done right and building A Troll in Central Park, taught us this lesson, the hard way."
References in other media
In a comedy sketch in a 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live, Alec Baldwin played Charles Nelson Reilly in a parody of the show Inside the Actor's Studio. During the course of the sketch, host James Lipton (as played by Will Ferrell) comments on how he loved A Troll in Central Park — he says watching it "is like looking into the face of God and seeing him smiling back, saying: 'You are my most wondrous creation'" — and asks if he can "speak to King Llort". Reilly accommodates by holding index cards to his ears and saying: "Well, hello, James Lipton! I'm King Llort! There's a troll in Central Park! I'm King Llort!".
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- A Troll in Central Park at the Internet Movie Database
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- A Troll in Central Park at Box Office Mojo