Out Now On-Demand
Find your happy place.
The '90s hair-crazy toy sensation goes big screen in this DreamWorks animated family musical. Features the singing voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, and Zooey Deschanel.
Follows Poppy (Kendrick), the leader of the trolls who must save her kind when a group are kidnapped by the troll-hungry Bergens. But Poppy cannot do it alone, she gets help from grumpy loner Branch (Timberlake).
Animated, Comedy, Kids & Family, Musical
I’m a Grinch when it comes to spontaneous song-n-dance sequences in modern animated family films. Movies like Despicable Me will throw in a Bee Gees number without ever committing to being a musical in order to gain unearned jives from its audience. It’s cheap, but it makes me thankful when a film like DreamWorks’ Trolls gets it right.
These trolls sing and dance as much as we breathe and eat – it’s just in their nature. So when they unapologetically bust out a mash-up of Junior Senior’s Move Your Feet and Justice’s D.A.N.C.E., it feels natural. You can accuse the set-list of plucking from Now That’s What I Call Music 829 but the songs work in context. It’s fun and lively in the way animated musicals are meant to be, though remains a few steps behind George Miller’s masterful Happy Feet.
DreamWorks could have been more daring with their story and what it means to be happy, but settles for ‘Anyone can be happy!’ That’s fine, but considering the trolls’ happy-go-lucky recklessness got them into trouble to begin with (they throw an insanely loud party that attracts the attention of the hungry Bergens), it feels like more life lessons were left on the table.
The gags range from pop culture references to butts doing butt stuff. A repeating joke with James Corden’s troll never hits while the auto-tuned T-Pain troll is always – ALWAYS – funny.
The one thing that stays constantly great is the art direction. DreamWorks has taken that textile look from Little Big Planet / Kirby’s Epic Yarn and amplified it to the max, creating beasts from cotton and landscapes from Grandma’s knitted Christmas sweater. It’s obvious: this studio wants to do a Care Bears movie so bad, and I say give it to them.
Time Out London
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
NZ Herald (Francesca Rudkin)
NewsHub.co.nz (Kate Rodger)
Tear to my Eye
Beautiful Storyline and Genuine. Would so watch this again.
After Angry Birds, a movie based on an app, Transformers and Lego franchises built on toys, a full-length feature about multi-coloured, vertically haired, squat, 1950s Danish dolls, that were popular in the 1990s, seems inevitable. As merchandise cash-ins go, it could be worse. But then, with a plot, script and characters this thin, it could be a hell of a lot better.
Who, aside from grumpy critics like me, would want to harm those cute Trolls? Bergens! Beastly ogres convinced eating our relentlessly cheery protagonists is the only way to experience happiness. So, basically Trolls are their version of tequila shots.
Directed by the pair behind both Spongebob and Alvin and The Chipmunks sequels, with a score by Christophe Beck (of Frozen fame), Trolls exudes oodles of energy, buckets of psychedelic colour, a gorgeously realised world of animated felt textures, and a cast in which Anna Kendrick, (as Princess Poppy), and Justin Timberlake (as cynical survivalist Troll, Branch) shine, amongst the largely under-utilised, (and often unspottable), voices of Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, John Cleese, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor and Gwen Stefani.
Bright yet bland, vivid and vacuous, with groan-worthy gags, and pop songs sprinkled liberally throughout, (including a fun use for Gorillaz ‘Clint Eastwood’), Trolls struggles to hold interest or entertainment value for those over eight. From characters pooping cupcakes and farting glitter, Trolls may be infantile and lacking in adult laughs but, judging by the ikkle giggles around me, it’s undeniably entertaining fare for young ‘uns.