“Trolls” stars Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, and Gwen Stefani. Released on November 4, 2016, the film has two trolls joining forces to save troll-kind from a bunch of creatures known as the Bergens.
The film is directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, and it is based on the Troll dolls created by Thomas Dam. Mitchell is known for directing other films such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Sky High, and Shrek Forever After. I’m pretty familiar with the dolls that inspired the latest film from the minds of DreamWorks Animation. I mean, who doesn’t love those delightful creatures that have colorful hair? Even though I’m not a huge fan of the dolls, I was curious to see how they’re going to make it work as an animated family film. From the look of its teaser, I was concerned that it was going to be one of those types of films that’ll impress the little ones, but annoy some grown-ups who aren’t into pop culture references or certain material that will “ruin their childhood”. After watching the rest of the marketing, I began to feel a bit more confident that it’s going to do just fine with the young ones and their parents. But the big question remains, how does it do for me? Does it really serve a happy place for me to revisit every now and again whenever I’m feeling blue?
The story focuses on the likable, yet really small, creatures known as the Trolls, whose main purpose in life is to look at life in a positive way. They are led by an optimistic Troll princess named Poppy, voiced by Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick, who, like the other Trolls, loves to sing, dance, and hug. When one of the Bergens discovered the Trolls‘ hiding place and snatched them all up, Poppy must go on a perilous quest to save them, but she’s going to need some help from a disgruntled Troll named Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake. The only problem with him is that he’s not like the other Trolls. He has no happiness whatsoever. The way the story is expressed is pretty simple. Predictable as heck, but simple. You can’t go into this film and expect an Oscar-winning story. What you can expect, however, is an animated film that makes you feel good inside. Yes, my friends, this is a movie about happiness and the number of ways of finding it. Sure, the story isn’t as memorable as the message itself, but the execution of that message alone is something worth smiling about. Oh, and it’s a musical (somehow). It has a variety of jukebox songs and original songs that’ll make you want to dance along to the beat of the music.
DreamWorks Animation has been known for delivering some awe-inspiring animation in their films, such as Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. For this film, it seems as though they have been taking notes from Disney on how to use animation to provide some escapism, to create a world filled with imagination and wonder without any worries from the real world. The world that is built around “Trolls” is like being inside a scrapbook, and it is very remarkable to look at. Even the designs of certain characters were very creative. I think little kids are going to enjoy this colorful world just the way that I did.
Going back to its predictable story, there is this one part that really bothered me personally. It felt like it took too much inspiration from Cinderella. I’m not sure if it’s lazy, dumb, or clever, but one thing’s for certain, it will definitely remind a lot of people of Cinderella. There’s also this Bergen chef who serves as the main antagonist in the film. I’m not going to talk too much about her, but I will say that she’s just a typical bad guy who wants to take over the kingdom. Nothing really stands out for her at all.
Overall, when you get past its predictable storyline and its mediocre villain, you and your little ones are going to have a fun time with “Trolls”. With its creative animated world, fun toe-tapping songs, and some pretty touching moments to boot, this animated feature is a worthy addition to my list of feel-good films, animated or live-action. So, while you wait for Moana to come out, I suggest you take your kids to see this film if you get the chance, and remember to always find your happy place.