Trolls (2016)8:25 AM
Find Your Happy Place
Trolls is directed by Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked) and Walt Dohrn (SpongeBob SquarePants) and features the voices of Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods), Justin Timberlake (Friends with Benefits, In Time), Zooey Deschanel (Elf, New Girl), James Corden (Begin Again, Into the Woods) and Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek, Hop). "Enter a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic Trolls, with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach." Trolls is the next film to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon - does it translate well with modern day or is it clearly a cash grab?
I was not excited at all for this film until June - the first teaser trailer looked horrendous but I was really sold on the second trailer and the introduction of the tagline 'Find Your Happy Place' - today's world has so much violence and social conflicts that I really wanted a film that was just in its own happy bubble and that's what I got from Trolls and I couldn't be happier about it. If you are looking for an optimistic, cheerful and fun film to watch, I strongly recommend this flick as it will really cheer you up, make you feel happy and make you want to dance. It may not be the most high-brow or complex animated film out there but it's definitely a lot of fun.
The voice actors involved in the film all do a really good job. Anna Kendrick is fantastic as Princess Poppy - as soon as she starting speaking, once again it clicked why I like her so much - she is just so likeable! This worked really well with such a positive and optimistic character. I really liked Princess Poppy as a character - her optimism was funny, some of her lines were clever and I thought the character had a good ark. Justin Timberlake was also good - even though it took a while for me to stop thinking it was Timberlake, as his character evolved, I liked his performance even more. Of course his character was bound to be one of the least likeable at first as he is the only negative troll but his character ark is also very good and makes you connect with the character of Branch. I knew Zooey Deschanel was in this film but I didn't realise who she was playing whilst playing - this shows the quality of her voice acting as the actor is lost in the character, Deschanel truly became Bridget. Bridget was also a good character - she had development and an ark and some funny moments. The same can't quite be said for James Corden or Russell Brand who weren't really given enough lines to 'lose themselves' in their characters - to me, Biggie and Creek weren't their character's names, James and Russell were. The voice cast was very strong across the board, especially the leads but not only were they good at speaking, the singing was also strong. I really liked the soundtrack - Timberlake did a great job producing it, I have bought the soundtrack already. Most of the songs are upbeat and positive which perfectly capture what Trolls is all about. My favourites include Can't Stop the Feeling, Get Back Up Again, True Colours and They Don't Know.
The animation quality is where the film slips up a little. Even though Trolls is incredibly bright and colourful which adds to the positive and happy tone, the actual animation isn't really up there with Disney or Pixar who are leading the genre. I know the creators were going for a style that was meant to be quite artificial but the characters weren't really well detailed - visually this film appeals more to younger audiences who like bright and simple things. Don't get me wrong, the animation isn't poor, it's just not of the great quality we are used to - more Sony Pictures' Hotel Transylvania rather than Pixar's Finding Dory.
I really liked the story for this film despite it being quite simplistic - Poppy wants to rescue her friends from the Bergens. This is a family film so the story is bound to be quite simplistic but that didn't stop Trolls from creating well developed characters who all had their own arks - SPOILERS - Poppy realises its ok not to be happy all the time, Branch realises it is ok to be happy, Bridget reveals her love for the King and learns to be herself and the Bergens realise that true happiness does exist. Trolls is also a very funny film with jokes that will be effective with both the kids and the adults - some of the lines have quite dark and inappropriate undertones but Illumination Entertainment have been doing that and succeeding so I don't see why Trolls can't too. One of my favourite scenes narratively and visually was the True Colours scene - when Poppy and all of the others Trolls lose their colour (which symbolises happiness) but Branch is the one to help them regain it through music - it was pretty moving to watch and visually effective. I also liked the running theme and joke of scrapbooking - not only were many jokes to do with Poppy's obsession with scrapbooking but parts of the story were actually told through a scrapbook, this was a good way of moving the story along quickly and cutting out moments that may not have been as entertaining.
Trolls definitely isn't high-brow entertainment but it is fun for all the family - young children will love the music and colours, older children will appreciate it all and adults will enjoy the music and some of the secret adult humour. The voice acting is brilliant - Kendrick is fantastic and Timberlake is good too. Even though the animation is nothing too special, it definitely is bright and colourful which is what Trolls needed to be. Most importantly though, Trolls will make you happy and I think that was the mission of the film. Go see it, the world needs this type of film right now. Find your happy place - I certainly think Trolls will become it.
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