<Review by: Justin Michaels>
Directed by Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn. Starring the voice talent of Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Russell Brand
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Trolls is an entertaining children’s film thanks to its musical qualities. The songs on offer in this animated 3D film are all yesteryear hits and that adds a real spunk to the storytelling.
The tempo is set by Junior Senior’s Move Your Feet panning out like a singing scene from Grease. And then all through, such hits like Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors set an upbeat mood. This is a feel good film, just like The Angry Birds movie from earlier this year.
But Trolls doesn’t have the sassy writing of The Angry Birds film. While the Jason Sudeikis movie achieved its happy state with some wry humour and rhetoric, Trolls gets there on the sheer value of cuteness. The humour is limited and the story is a bit too predictable, but the sight of little magical trolls in a million shades of colour and a heavy dose of glitter are just too adorable to ignore. Trolls would make you believe that everything in the world is sugar, spice and everything nice. This film is so sweet it could give Hello Kitty diabetes. That’s not a bad thing.
So the story deals with magical and colourful trolls trying to hide from the Bergens. Trolls are happy creatures and Bergens are miserable monsters. The only way Bergens can be happy is by eating the trolls. Over the course of the film the viewer and the Bergens figure out that there are more ways to be happy than just eating candy-sized magical beings. The trolls learn a few lessons too, mostly about spreading more love, songs, dances and hugs.
Trolls is directed by Mike Mitchell who has worked in various capacities on films like the Shrek series, Monsters Vs Aliens, Puss In Boots and the last Spongebob film. The film is also co-directed by Walter Dorhn who’s worked on Spongebob and Dexter’s Laboratory on TV. These guys know what children’s animated movies should be about. And they add the right amount of character and freshness to Trolls. The lead character of Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) loves to scrapbook all her experiences and the film showcases these kitschy moments in the most unique fashion. Most of the creatures and the landscape are made from children’s craft materials like velvet and felt cloth, cardboard, paper, buttons and even glitter. If you’ve ever had a penchant for DIY arts this film will plaster a Cheshire Cat-kind of smile on your face.
There’s a lot more to grin about in Trolls. The biggest asset of this film is its voice cast led by Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. These two have incredible singing talent and that becomes the crux of Trolls’ magical and musical appeal. Supporting voice acts by Zooey Deshcanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Christine Baranski is top notch too. This overtly cute film makes its big play on the Trolls’ colourful and shape-shifting hair. It makes the trolls a definite and hot movie franchise property. Once you’ve witnessed their hair-raising adventures you’d be hooked and wishing for more.