For Whom the Bell Trolls
Trolls is directed by Mike Mitchell and stars the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, and Gwen Stefani. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Can't Stop the Feeling").
Good ol' cynical me did not get any hopes up when I first saw trailers and posters for DreamWorks' Trolls, especially when I realized that it was yet another feature film to be based off of one of those toys or action figures that you thought was gone and forgotten in one of the dusty corners of your basement. This is the day and age we live in though, in which anything and everything must have a movie, and Thomas Dam's Good Luck Troll Dolls are no exception. But even though Trolls is based off of a toy doll whose popularity was at its peak back in the 60's, it actually isn't that bad. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it is colorful fun that is bound to entertain children. I can't say the same for parents though, who might not buy into watching 90 minutes of a bunch of bright, happy-go-lucky trolls who love to do nothing but hug, dance, and sing.
That's the life of the Trolls, a group of tiny creatures who feel almost nothing but happiness all of the time. The Trolls' constant happiness, however, puts them in danger in the face of a group of joyless, ogre creatures called Bergens. The Bergens hold an annual event called Trollstice, in which the Bergens cage the trolls and their giant tree home in hopes of eating them. Eating trolls is the only way that the Bergens can feel happiness. The Trolls are led by King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor), who manages to help the Trolls escape from the Bergens and find a new home. Twenty years pass without a Bergen sighting, and King Peppy's daughter, Princess Poppy (Kendrick), decides to throw a party to celebrate. One Troll named Branch (Timberlake) objects to the party, believing it will attract a Bergen. Branch's fear turns out to be true, when a Bergen crashes the party and kidnaps many of the Trolls. Poppy decides that she must venture to the Bergens home town and rescue the captured Trolls. The only Troll who decides to come with her is Branch, who believes that Poppy won't be able to make it alone.
The "Be yourself" message is typical for any animated children's film, but that's not quite what Trolls attempts to convey to the audience. The film's central message is more about being happy, and that everyone has true happiness buried inside themselves somewhere. Because of this, the movie attempts to be as upbeat as possible.
- Trolls is very colorful and is a delight to look at from an artistic stand point. The backgrounds are lovely and imaginative, and there are Trolls of all kind of bright, shiny colors. Colors, man. If anything, that's what you should see the movie for. Poppy has a sequence in which she sings a song about braving the dangers of the forest ("Get Back Up Again") that involves her evading consumption at the hands of various creatures that look like they came from some Nickelodeon clay-mation show. This is the best glimpse of the world in which the film takes place.
- I have nothing really good to say about the humor in Trolls. There's a Troll who poops glitter out of its butt, and there's another one that poops cupcakes. Poppy even has the audacity to offer said pooped cupcakes to eat. But aside from poop jokes, the movie must also think it's funny that Justin Timberlake, a famous singer, voices a Troll who hates singing. Come on though, do you really think Timberlake would sign on to a voicing role in a musical in which he doesn't get to sing? So spoiler alert, Branch eventually sings. And to enhance the argument that Trolls is not targeted towards adults in any way, there really isn't any noteworthy secret adult references slipped in anywhere. The jokes are all simple-minded and predictable at a level that kids might laugh at, but would make the parents just roll their eyes.
I suppose the best way for me to describe my feelings towards Trolls is that I think it's fine. It's not terrible. It's not great. It's fine. Kendrick and Timberlake provide some nice vocals, and the film's rainbow lollipop art style is impossible to ignore. But unlike some previous DreamWorks' productions, this one is mainly for the kiddies, providing little for the parents to remember. If you're not the most demanding viewer, you'll likely be joyed by the film's harmless musical fun. Don't watch it expecting Pixar genius or anything like that though.
Recommend? Only if you're bored or need to entertain kids for 90 minutes.
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: