Review: More than just merchandise-oriented bonanza, Dreamworks’ toy-based Trolls is surprisingly a simple, fun reflection of happiness. Child audiences will find this candy-colored, scrapbook materials amusing; while at some points, it serves as a working treat for adults, who happen to see it, too.
I might mention ‘simple’ here, but that doesn’t mean Trolls is a dumb, witless story; it only serves its purpose as a PG entertainment. Not at Pixar’s emotional and/or intellectual depth, but it still emanates good vibes. Simplicity in Trolls is about making people happy in any simple way.
Speaking of happiness, the titular trolls are little creatures of happiness—they sing, dance, hug and even fart glitters. Trolls might be the happiest creatures ever; unfortunately, they’re also edible. They’re foods for Bergen, hideous creatures which cannot be happy… until they eat a troll.
One day on Trollstice feast celebration, King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) leads the horde of trolls to escape into the woods, leaving the Bergens desperate. That independence day is later celebrated by the trolls every year until 20 years later, a big celebration has led a Bergen Chef to trolls’ hideout where she wreaks havoc and kidnaps a group of young trolls.
Feeling responsible for the chaos, the king’s daughter, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) swears to go to Bergen town and save her friends. She is accompanied by a reluctant, “unhappy”, monochrome troll named Branch (Justin Timberlake).
Despite its overly childish premise and sugary visuals, Trolls surprisingly is consistent in bringing up the happiness theme at surface. That theme is emanated through heartfelt voice presence of the actors behind it plus ear-catching tunes combining nostalgic feels and original songs. Furthermore, it is reflected in heartwarming plot, which is completely digestible for any age classification.
With familiar voices from popular singer-actor, from Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) to Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis) even She & Him’s lead vocal, Zooey Deschanel, Trolls is a melody-led adventure. The songs are meant to be company pieces to the narrative, not merely some gimmicks. Ranging from Lionel Richie’s Hello cover by Deschanel to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors by Kendrick and Timberlake combined with original tunes like Timberlake’s long-advertised Can’t Stop the Feeling, those songs are juxtaposing perfectly with how the narrative attempts to tell the message.
Should there be gripes to Trolls, it might be the character presentations. While those characters are effortlessly cute and merchandise-ridden, most of them do not have clear distinctive feature to each other which might cause confusion in differentiating supporting characters (especially in a plot-point involving Russel Brand’s Creek). In addition, Trolls also makes unwise move by neglecting the on-screen presence of fan-favorite James Corden, Gwen Stefani or Icona Pop, which come and go without any song. It’s even more difficult to know that they’re involved in Trolls as well.
Laughable in a positive way and managed to be a heartfelt storytelling for literally everyone, Dreamworks’ Trolls is a decent example of how simplicity can grasp best attention. People who love small laugh and great laugh should at least watch it once!
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Musical Directed by: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell Written by: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger Starred by: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel Runtime: 92 mins Rated PG3