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  • Trolls | Review

    By | November 4, 2016


    Directors: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

    Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Erica Rivinoja (story)

    Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor

    The little troll creations that inspired DreamWorks Animation’s latest film intended to make bank entertaining children, Trolls,were originally created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam in 1959 and became a huge toy fad in the United States’ in the early 1960’s. Unlike many toy lines, there has never been a fixed cast of Troll characters and while there have been TV specials, video games, a short-lived series, and they’ve even popped up in Toy Story films, none of those have established much in the way of a Trolls history, allowing this animated feature-length adaptation to basically start from scratch. In hindsight, it’s somewhat shocking it’s taken over 55 years before a film studio tried to cash in on their long-running popularity.

    What DreamWorks has produced with Trolls is a pretty typical piece of subpar product. It’s bright and loud, it’s exuberant and features a forgettable and interchangeable cast of characters and your kids will probably be entertained by it. The trolls are a nearly psychotically happy group of defenseless and harmless creatures who would just be happy to spend all of their time singing and laughing. If only the Bergens, ugly, ogre-like creatures who supposedly experience a momentary sense of happiness if they consume a troll on a yearly holiday known as “Trollstice,” would leave them alone. The trolls thought they’d escaped the Bergens forever after fleeing to a remote corner of the forest to live in peace, but find their existence again threatened when an exiled Bergen chef (Christine Baranski) discovers their home.

    As fate would have it, it comes down to the odd couple of eternally optimistic Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and her glum friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) to save the Trolls from sure destruction. Despite the nominally satisfying animation, solidly entertaining voice work by beloved actors such as John Cleese and Jeffery Tambor and the catchy pop tunes spearheaded by Justin Timberlake, this is a film that feels mediocre, lightweight and utterly forgettable. The only real message in a movie that features characters that fart glitter and poop cupcakes is that everyone should be happy and be happy right now, and getting to that state can best be achieved through dancing, disco balls and making out, all set to the sounds of sugary, over-produced pop music.

    I hate to sound cynical by speaking negatively of a neon-bright kid’s film that seems to be pushing the message that love conquers all and that happiness can be found inside but I just couldn’t escape the feeling that this is yet another cash grab featuring a weak narrative painted over by a bright burst of glitter and sparkle.

    Rating: 6/10

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