Reviews: it’s a big hair day – Trolls
Directed by Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Starring Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Gwen Stefani, Christine Baranski, James Corden
Those loveable fugly Trolls are being brought to the silver screen from the Animation Studio which brought us Shrek. For many years the Trolls have been held captive in the middle of a town of Bergens, who don’t know how to be happy, apart from that one day a year where they eat Trolls. The eating of a Troll on this one day of the year gives them a temporary experience of happiness that they don’t have at any other time. But one year, just as the Prince Bergen is about to taste his first Troll, they escape and manage to find their way to freedom.
The chief Chef of the village of Bergens is blamed for this escape and as punishment is banished from the village. Twenty years on and the Trolls could not be happier, their sickly sweet life of hugs, happiness, music, and dancing has pushed the thoughts of the Bergen out of their heads. Apart from one grumpy Troll called Branch, who fears every musical routine will bring the Bergen to their door, but Princess Poppy will hear none of it. That is until a musical number brings the Bergen to their door and a group of Trolls get captured.
You can, as an adult pretty much write this screenplay yourself as the film goes on, but there is something oddly likeable about the whole thing. I know that this film is aimed at children, but as I’ve said before, once the adults are happy too you’ll get return visits by the whole family to the cinema. I’m old enough to remember when the crazy haired Trolls first appeared on the top of the pencils of the cool kids in our school. But in those days we were in the charge of the Christian Brothers who had all the whimsy trained out of them, and they were quick to enforce a classroom ban on the Trolls.
So it’s taken a long time for this project to come to the screen. But for a forty one year old child like me there was plenty to enjoy when watching this. It had my foot tapping on the floor of the cinema, and, thankfully, I was in the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin, one of the only ones in Dublin where your feet don’t stick to the ground the minute you’re seated. The soundtrack here could have done with a few more original songs; I don’t want to tell Dreamworks they need to be more Disney, but, well, Dreamworks you need to be more Disney. Frozen became a hit because of terribly catchy songs, that’s all I’m saying. I do think that little boys and girls will be up in their seats though singing the pop songs that are used here, and dancing along with the colourful characters. I can also say that some parents, after a lunchtime glass or two of vino, will join them, just my experience of some parents.
The animation itself is really good. Now we got shown this film in 3D, and I don’t think it needs to be, as the animation is well done and you get the feeling at certain points you are watching a stop motion animation of the characters rather than computer generation. There are also some questionable animation choices that for some strange reason worked when they shouldn’t have. The animation of a cloud, which reminded me of a scene from Reno 911, just had me smiling although the character of the cloud looked out of place.
There were a thousand reasons why this could have irritated my skin off royally but when you take into account the infectious nature of the soundtrack, the star-heavy voice cast, and the genius creation of the worlds around them, Trolls is a great time at the cinema. It’s not my favourite animation of the year, Kubo and the Two Strings and Finding Dory are fighting that one out, but it’s certainly not the worst by a long shot. If you’ve got kids and want to occupy them in a cinema you could do far worse than bring them to Trolls.