Dan's Review: It's okay to sing and dance with "Trolls"
Trolls - © 2016 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation
Trolls (20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation)
Rated PG for some mild rude humor.
Starring (voices of) Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt,Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, GloZell, Meg DeAngelis, Ricky Dillon, Kandee Johnson, Christine Baranski, John Cleese, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Walt Dohrn, Jeffrey Tambor, Quvenzhané Wallis, Mike Mitchell, Iris Dohrn, Liam Henry.
Written by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Erica Rivinoja.
Directed by Mike Mitchell.
Everybody likes a little karaoke party fun, right? It seems like the closing “bonus” scene in Shrek (In which Shrek and his pals perform “I’m a Believer”) has given birth to the idea in computerized animated features, where cartoon characters sing and dance to pop songs. The same formula was utilized in Happy Feet, except the songs were woven into the feature-length story line. Trolls (released this weekend) is doing it again, using a plethora of pop songs performed by characters based on Thomas Dam’s Troll dolls, the popular good luck charm collectibles from the 1960s and 70s.
The Trolls story begins with the happy miniature creatures living in harmony, singing songs, giving hugs and dancing along until the giant Bergens (ogre-like humans) discover their happy tree. The Bergens, unable to sing and dance very well, are jealous of the Trolls’ happiness and resolve to eat them in order to feel happy. The Bergens even create an annual festival in which they feast on the Trolls. One year, the Troll King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) decides that enough is enough and leads his tribe through underground tunnels to escape. Pursued by the evil Bergen Chef (Christine Baransky), the Trolls find a new home in the woods, living again in peace for 20 years. Peppy’s daughter Poppy (Anna Kendrick) grows up and becomes the happiest Troll of all, leading the hourly hug detail and arranging large-scale parties. On the anniversary of their escape from the Bergens, Poppy holds the biggest party of all, setting off fireworks seen for miles around. Little does she know that Chef, having been banished from the Bergen kingdom for allowing the Trolls to escape, has been searching for the Troll ever since. When Chef sees the fireworks, she attacks, stealing several of Poppy’s friends and heading back to the Bergen kingdom where she hopes to be reinstated to her former position under the Crown Prince Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
Meanwhile, Poppy treads off to rescue her pals, but not before recruiting Branch (Justin Timberlake) a reclusive, survivalist Troll who lives in fear of the Bergens. Poppy and Branch reach the Bergen kingdom, where they are captured and placed in the care Bergen scullery maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), who is secretly in love with Gristle Jr. The Trolls have sympathy on Bridget, who is unseen by Gristle and abused by Chef. They give her a “Troll makeover” and the prince falls in love with her. The story comes to peak during a banquet in which Bridget’s identity is revealed the prince, and the Trolls must prove that the Bergens don’t need to eat them to find happiness.
Trolls is a fun movie, albeit a little strange. The idea of eating sentient beings for happiness may be a little difficult to navigate for some, but the main message of finding happiness in yourself shouldn’t be too hard to decipher. The animation is bright and fun, just like the Trolls themselves.
The real appeal of Trolls is in the popular music and dance scenes, which should compel plenty of toe-tapping and desires to sing along, just like a real karaoke party.