A Troll in Central Park

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A Troll in Central Park
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed by
Produced by
Written byStu Krieger
Music byRobert Folk
Edited byFiona Trayler
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 7, 1994 (1994-10-07)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Box office$71,368

A Troll in Central Park (released in some countries as Stanley's Magic Garden) is a 1994 American animated musical fantasy-comedy film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, creators of their previous animated films: Rock-a-Doodle, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures under their Warner Bros. Family Entertainment label on October 7, 1994. The film grossed $71,368 at the North American box office.

The film features the voice talents of Dom DeLuise as Stanley, Cloris Leachman as Queen Gnorga, Charles Nelson Reilly as King Llort, Phillip Glasser as Gus, Tawny Sunshine Glover as Rosie, Hayley Mills as Hilary and Jonathan Pryce as Alan. It is the last Don Bluth film to star Dom DeLuise.


Stanley is a troll who has a magical green thumb with the ability to bring flowers and plants to life at a touch, which is forbidden in his home, the Kingdom of Trolls. When he is discovered doing so, the other trolls take him as prisoner to Gnorga, the queen of the trolls, who concludes that Stanley "gives a bad name to trolls everywhere" and demands that he be turned to stone with her dark thumb (which is also purple when it glows). At the behest of her consort King Llort, Queen Gnorga instead banishes Stanley to New York City where, after a series of mishaps, Stanley ends up in Central Park then hides himself in a cave under a bridge for safety.

The next day, in a New York apartment, two young siblings named Gus and Rosie learn that their parents cannot take them to Central Park, because their father Alan has to go to court for an important case, and their mother Hilary has to attend the open house on Park Avenue. While left alone with their nanny, Maria, Gus takes Rosie to the Park himself. While playing with Gus's toy boat by the river, Rosie follows a butterfly to the bridge where she mistakes Stanley for her own stuffed toy. Following Stanley into the cave, she befriends him. Gus goes after Rosie, only for his toy boat to be accidentally smashed in doing so. After becoming surprised to meet Stanley and his crew of talking flowers, Gus tries to force Rosie to come home with him. Stanley then gets into an argument and struggle with Gus over Rosie, but it wasn't long before Rosie begins to cry, clearly for her need of a bottle of milk which the animals find in Gus' wagon and brought it to cheer her up. At the Kingdom of Trolls, Gnorga enjoys her amusement of Rosie's sadness on her crystal, but when she discovers Stanley happy in exile and his flowers entertaining Rosie with the “old soft pedal” dance, she became furious at not having her chance to turn Stanley to stone herself. Having also witnessed Gus' frustration towards Rosie and Stanley, she decides to have an advantage and creates a flood to drown them all by making Gus cry a gigantic flood of tears with an evil spell. But using his green thumb, Stanley enlarges Gus's toy boat which he restored back to its former self, turning it into a “dream boat” to save the kids, and they escape together. Soon after, Stanley shows the children his own ideals, depicted as a world of his own. Afterwards, they return to Stanley's hideout to get some rest.

Determined to suppress Stanley herself, Gnorga sends a tornado to transport her and Llort to Central Park while it destroys the park and everything green on it. Meanwhile, Gus and Rosie woke from their nap and decides to get back home to their apartment. After finding Central Park in its damaged and creepy-looking self, the two kids are then chased by Queen Gnorga and King Llort, who are intending to use them as a bait for Stanley. Gnorga succeeds to kidnap Rosie, but Gus manages to escape her. He returns to the cave in the bridge and tries to persuade Stanley to help him. But Stanley, frightened by the reign of Gnorga, refuses and claims that his magic is no match for Gnorga's. Angered, Gus accuses Stanley of being too scared to fight Gnorga and tells him that he will never have a dream come true if he's too scared to fight for what he believes in. Gus leaves to face Gnorga himself, with the assistance of the flowers and animals who have turned their backs on Stanley for his cowardice. Arriving at the abandoned building where Gnorga and Llort are waiting for Stanley, Gus finds and frees Rosie from a kennel, while the flowers tied up Gnorga's dog with ropes before it could attack the kids. But seeing the children get away, Gnorga and Llort chase them out the building, leading to a battle. During the fight, Gnorga transforms Gus into a troll with his dark thumb, and Rosie falls into the chasm after her brother freed her and himself by turning Llort's feet along with his helmet to stone. Fortunately, Stanley appears on Gus' toy boat; now transformed into a flying boat with leaf wings, having already saved the uninjured Rosie. Then he steps forward and challenges Gnorga to a thumb-wrestling match. Stanley manages to win and 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' toy boat turns back to normal, sending Gus and Rosie falling through the open window and into their apartment room, while Stanley (in his statue form) lands on top of the nearby trash can, but survived the impact. As Gnorga declares her job done, the last of Stanley's power changes her into a rose bush. Then the tornado reappeared and sucked Gnorga, Llort, and their dog back to the Kingdom of Trolls in defeat, while Gus returns to his human form.

The next morning, Gus, Rosie, and their parents visit Central Park, where Gus and Rosie place the petrified Stanley on a makeshift pedestal. Gus attempts to revive him with his instant-temporarily green thumb and appears to fail. As they prepares to leave, after a moment's pause of saying goodbye, he and Rosie turned back to find Stanley gone. Then hearing Stanley's whistle, the two kids looked up to see Stanley standing on the tree with his flowers; restored to life, and they are happy to see him. Stanley recreates Central Park and covers the entire city of Manhattan in vegetation and flowers.

Back in the Kingdom of Trolls, Llort (who is now in control as a gentle ruler) reads a newspaper, depicting Gnorga as the “queen of posies,” and Stanley's case being dismissed. As he laughs, he is once again bitten by Gnorga's dog for insulting his own wife (much to his chagrin). After letting out a painful scream, and as the end credits began to roll, he is heard commanding the dog to stop attacking him (his repeated line that was heard in the film).



A Troll in Central Park
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 14, 2012[2]
LabelIntrada Records
ProducerRobert Folk
Don Bluth Music of Films chronology
A Troll in Central Park
The Pebble and the Penguin

The music for A Troll in Central Park was composed and conducted by Robert Folk, who previously provided the soundtrack for Rock-a-Doodle (1991), and was performed by the Irish Film Orchestra.[2] Although a commercial soundtrack was not released alongside the film in 1994, a limited edition CD containing 15 tracks from the movie was made available on February 12, 2012, by Intrada Records as part of their Intrada Special Collection.[3] The tracks were taken from the original digital session masters, with three songs written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Norman Gimbel and Robert Folk ultimately omitted due to being permanently wedded to sound effects and dialogue from the film.[3]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $71,368 in North America.[4] It was 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.[This quote needs a citation]

Critical reception[edit]

A Troll in Central Park holds an approval rating of 17% with an average of 3.6 out of 10 based on six reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.[5] TV Guide gave the movie two out of five stars and felt that the film's appeal was very age-limited, calling it "Pastel-pretty and cloyingly sweet," and that "A Troll in Central Park is strictly for the youngest members of the moviegoing audience."[6] The A.V. Club wrote that A Troll in Central Park is "widely considered to be [Don Bluth's] worst film."[7]

In the July 2001 issue of his magazine ToonTalk, Don Bluth said 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."

Home media[edit]

On January 10, 1995, Warner Home Video released A Troll in Central Park on VHS and LaserDisc in the United States and Canada.[8] In the UK, the movie was released on VHS under the title Stanley's Magic Garden.[9] 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film on DVD for the first time on February 19, 2002.[10]


  1. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "TROLL IN CENTRAL PARK, A". Intrada Records. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "A Troll in Central Park (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "A Troll in Central Park - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TVGuide.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  7. ^ Siede, Caroline (August 19, 2014). "Don Bluth offered a dark alternative to Disney animation". Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  8. ^ Fitzpatrick, Eileen (December 3, 1994). "Home Video". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 49. p. 90.
  9. ^ "Stanley's Magic Garden [VHS]". Amazon UK. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  10. ^ "A Troll in Central Park". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 21, 2015.

External links[edit]