By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
In an age of cynicism and pessimism, it is often refreshing to see a film brimming with themes of optimism and happiness. With all of the ugliness and hate in the world, people of all ages need cheerful messages of love, and reminders that the world does have its truly magical moments. Going into this film, I really didn’t know what to expect, but was still hopeful. Even though the themes and messages are rather familiar, Trolls still has much heart and joy to offer not only children, but also their parents, or any other grownups accompanying them.
The happy Trolls have lived in the forest mostly undisturbed and free to sing, dance, and hug until their hearts are content. That is, until the sad and grumpy Bergens arrive to ruin everything. These giant ogres discover that the only thing that makes them happy is eating Trolls. Led by King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor), the Trolls flee their home and go into hiding. Twenty years later, the exuberant and vivacious Princess Poppy (Kendrick) decides to throw a massive party celebrating their escape from the Bergens. The loud music and singing attracts their tormentors who, once again attack the happy Trolls. Desperate for a taste of happiness, Bergen Prince Gristle, Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his Chef (Christine Baransky) capture several Trolls and plan a celebration of their own. In need of someone who thinks more practically, Poppy enlists the aid of Branch (Timberlake), the only grumpy Troll in existence.
With gorgeous and trippy animation, delightful characters, and the use of lovably catchy pop songs, Trolls will definitely make for a great time at the cinema for family members of all ages. The story and plot are simple and obvious, but the filmmakers behind this fun movie bring much effervescence and zeal to the material. Based on the Good Luck Trolls toys by Thomas Dam and a story by Erica Rivinoja, directors Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell, and screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have made a movie guaranteed to put smiles on audiences faces and a little swing in their steps. There is plenty of solid humor for audiences of all ages, with some hilarious winks and nudges for the grownups. The entire cast is superbly chosen and every voice actor delivers excellent work.
Aside from Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Zoey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and anyone else I mentioned above, the movie features jubilant and earnest performances by Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, and much more. The filmmakers and their talented cast members really build on what is basic parable, and transform it into an exciting and colorful world that should excite and entertain children and leave their parental escorts pleased. My guests for the screening, which included a little girl, left full of joy and contentment.
That is what all audiences should take away from this movie–pure joy and happiness. With all of the hate spewing and violence that permeates our news and internet feeds, this dose of sugary-sweet love and affection is always needed. Even though the movie and its messages are geared toward child audiences, even the adults could learn something, or at least be reminded that love and happiness is not impossible, even in a cynical world.