From DreamWorks animation, those that brought you Shrek amongst others, we have Trolls. Based on the cute little figures and characters originally created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam, although in 2013 he sold those rights to DreamWorks Animation. You’ve all seen the trailer, so is worth the full film?
Trolls tells the story of Poppy, voiced by Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods), who is the happy, clappy sort of Troll, as most are. She is throwing the mother of all parties to celebrate them not having been attacked by Bergens, who eat trolls, for 20 years. However, despite warnings from the only not-happy Troll, Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis, In Time), to tame the party, a Bergen does turn up and take a quite a few of the Trolls. Poppy and reluctantly Branch, go to save those that were taken.
First of all it would be remiss of me to say that Trolls isn’t the sort of film that is going to tax anyone in the brain department. It’s obvious from the get-go exactly where it’s all going and what’s going to happen. This isn’t necessarily a problem, certainly your children won’t be bothered, but you will have to enjoy everything else given, without thinking, you know what’s coming.
As you’ve probably seen from the trailer, or the Justin Timberlake video…oh wait, that’s just people dancing…odd, Trolls is a barrage on the senses. It’s bright, it’s a musical, there’s plenty of one-liners where characters get close-ups or snap into view to have their say. What’s missing is the funny little character that’s always in these things. It does arrive when Cloud Guy, voiced by Walt Dohrn (Penguins of Madagascar, Shrek The Third), turns up on the scene. But then he vanishes, almost as quickly as he arrives. Which is a shame as it’s a fun character and adds to the dynamic between Poppy and Branch.
Speaking of which, the two have a great chemistry and are able to spar off each other given their differences. Any of the funny moments between them though you’ll have seen if you’ve seen the trailer. In fact that’s true throughout the film I’m afraid to say. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that but the fact is if you’ve seen the Trolls trailer, you’ve seen the best bits.
That’s not to say it’s not worth watching. It is funny, there’s a lovely, heart-warming story about happiness being inside of all of us and you don’t have to eat a Troll to be happy (though they would say that wouldn’t they?). The music is good, it’s not a Disney sickeningly sweet musical by any stretch, it’s all well-known pop-music re-jigged a little which works.
There’s a raft of voice actors on display, or on soundtrack, however you want to say it. Some work very well, such as John Cleese (Monty Python), Zooey Deschanel (Elf, Yes Man), Christopher Mint-Plasse (Kick-Ass, Superbad) and Christine Baranski (The Good Wife, Into the Woods) who is wonderful as Chef. Some aren’t so good or you hardly hear them such as James Corden, Russell Brand and Gwen Stefani who I’m not sure actually does say anything?
I was afraid, after seeing the trailer quite a few times, that I’d seen the best of Trolls. I’m not sure what it was, intuition, a good guess, I don’t know, but I hoped to be wrong. Sadly I wasn’t. Not a bad effort, your kids will love it – colourful, funny, cute – you perhaps…a little less.