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A Troll in Central Park

The latest from animator Don Bluth ("An American Tail," "The Land Before Time") likely will fade from theaters even quicker than his recent "Thumbelina." Warner Bros., clearly wary of the pic's prospects, opened it Oct. 7 in limited re-gional release. Vid chances can only be brighter.

The latest from animator Don Bluth (“An American Tail,” “The Land Before Time”) likely will fade from theaters even quicker than his recent “Thumbelina.” Warner Bros., clearly wary of the pic’s prospects, opened it Oct. 7 in limited re-gional release. Vid chances can only be brighter.

Scripted by Stu Krieger (“Monkey Business”), “A Troll in Central Park” is the story of Stanley (voice by Dom DeLuise), the most good-hearted fellow in Troll Land, a kingdom where good-heartedness is highly suspect.

Because he has, quite literally, a green thumb, Stanley can make lovely flowers grow wherever he places his enchanted digit.

Unfortunately, this behavior makes him extremely unpopular with Gnorga, the gleefully wicked troll queen, who thinks beautiful flowers are even more repulsive than good-heartedness. So she banishes Stanley to the worst place she can think of — New York City.

As it turns out, however, this is not quite a fate worse than death. While living in a Central Park cave, Stanley is able to beautify his environs. He also befriends the two young children of neglectful, workaholic parents, and teaches them that, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

These are words that Stanley himself must learn to live by when Gnorga shows up to wreak havoc, uproot flowers and terrify small children.

“Troll” is a sweet and sunny fantasy that, like Bluth’s “Thumbelina,” is aimed at youngsters too young, or too nightmare-prone, to appreciate “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

Older viewers (i.e., anyone over the age of 12) may find it too pokey and bland, and yearn for the visceral excitement and pictorial splendor of “The Lion King.”

To be fair, Bluth’s new pic features animation by his Dublin-based production house that is more imaginative, and far less greeting-card banal, than “Thumbelina.” (It ranks several notches below “American Tail” and “Land Before Time,” however.) And the vocal talents are all they should be.

DeLuise is aptly excitable and lovable as Stanley, while Leachman is amusingly over-the-top as the wicked Gnorga. The original songs by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Norman Gimbel and Robert Folk are instantly forgettable, but they serve the story agreeably well.

A Troll in Central Park

  • Production: A Warner Bros. presentation in association with Don Bluth Ltd. Produced by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy. Directed by Bluth, Goldman. Screenplay, Stu Krieger.
  • Crew: Music, Robert Folk; original songs, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Norman Gimbel, Folk; production design, Dave Goetz; sound (Dolby), Brian Masterson. Reviewed at General Cinema Galleria II, Houston, Oct. 8, 1994. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 76 MIN.
  • With: <B>Voices:</B><br> Stanley - Dom DeLuise<br> Queen Gnorga - Cloris Leachman<br> Gus - Phillip Glasser<br> Rosie - Tawney Sunshine Glover<br> Hilary - Hayley Mills<br> Alan - Jonathan Pryce<br> King Llort - Charles Nelson Reilly<br>