Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christine Baranski, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, Quvenzhané Wallis
I honestly would not have expected a full-length movie about the toys I used to play with as a kid to be so much fun. Then again, The LEGO Movie was wildly imaginative. Trolls has a fairly simple premise, but it’s pretty creative at the same time. The trolls are known to be the happiest creatures throughout all the land. All they know how to do is sing, dance, and hug. Their rivals, the Bergens, are gnome-like creatures who don’t know what it means to be happy. Every year they have a holiday known as the Trollstis where the Bergens are able to feel happiness when they eat a troll. During one particular Trollstis, when young Prince Gristle would taste his first troll, the trolls are able to escape to freedom. Twenty years pass and Princess Poppy (Kendrick) decides to throw a huge party to celebrate their freedom. She wants to go all out with fireworks, music, and crazy invitations. Fellow troll Branch (Timberlake) is a bit more cautious. He does not want to compromise their freedom by causing a scene. He spends his days in an underground bunker too afraid to be wild and free. Poppy’s party is a festive good time, but soon Branch’s prophecy comes true when banished Bergen Chef (Baranski) catches them and snatches up some of Poppy’s friends. Poppy and Branch set out to find their friends who are now in back at Prince Gristle’s (Mintz-Plasse) castle.
One of the first things you will notice is that Trolls is so full of spunk. It’s one of the most colorful movies I have seen in quite some time. It easily could have dipped into obnoxious territory due to the high energy the film has at all times, but it’s creative enough to keep even older moviegoers entertained. It is a musical with some original music and plenty of covers. If you haven’t heard Justin Timberlake’s new song “Can’t Stop This Feeling”, you’re probably living under a rock. It’s been an extremely catchy summer hit. It also features covers ranging from “’Mo Money, Mo Problems”, “Move Your Feet”, and “September.” I don’t know if it’s the Anna Kendrick influence, but it has a Pitch Perfect vibe with a capella harmonies on some of the covers.
Trolls has a Cinderella type story to it when it comes to the bond between Prince Gristle and Bridget (Deschanel), one of the maids of the castle. Poppy and some of the other trolls lend their happiness and artistic ways to give her a makeover in hopes of winning over the Prince. One of the themes of the movie focuses on how we accept ourselves for who we truly are and what it means to find happiness and love. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timerblake sing a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”. It has a slower tempo but acts as the 11:00 number of the movie in how it relates to a variety of the characters and the movie’s themes.
You can’t help but feel giddy throughout the movie as the concept of happiness radiates off the screen. Kendrick and Timberlake are an ideal match for Poppy and Branch. Both actors have voices that lend themselves easily to animated characters and both carry such joy in them that it effortlessly comes out in their work. Even though they probably recorded their voices at different times, the chemistry still shows thanks to the great banter written between them. Christine Baranski has proven time and time again she is great character actress and is perfect at villainy roles that are out for themselves, which Chef fits to a T.
Trolls has a wonderful sense of humor to it, and while there are easy jokes and goofy characters, there is also a commitment to make even the smaller details pop. There are so many quirky little touches along the way. The Cloud Guy is minor character that stands out more than some of the other trolls with his interaction with Branch. Poppy is an ardent scrap booker, which becomes a funny bit throughout the movie. There’s also the random use of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” which kids won’t pick up on, but I got a good chuckle out of that as well as all of the hair tricks and choreography.
The movie comes from Dreamworks Animation and has the same writers of the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. It’s appropriate for all ages, as the Bergens never get too scary like some cartoon villains. It will no doubt go on to be a huge hit and rightfully so. It doesn’t break any new ground in terms of the story or themes it tells, but it will successfully brings a smile to your face. How could it not with its infectious energy and cheer? I think kids, and maybe even some of their parents, will come out dancing and singing along to Justin Timberlake’s new song or any of the other pop hits it reimagines.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? It’s a jolly good time.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS