Today I got the chance to see the latest film from Dreamworks, Trolls. This is a film I wasn’t looking forward to as the trailers had been frankly terrible (need I remind you of the twerking troll that we can never forget…). But, I always try to go into films with an open mind, and this was no exception. So what did I think of Trolls?
Well, it’s not awful but it is very uneven.
Based on the old toys from the 90s, Trolls is a simple story geared towards little children. It is about Poppy (Anna Kendrick) the happy troll and Branch (Justin Timberlake) the grumpy troll who must work together to save the rest of the trolls from the evil bergens.
Along the way they sing pop songs…this is where some of that unevenness comes in. A few of the songs work like the catchy Can’t Stop the Feeling but most are complete throw-aways and most aren’t very long. For example, they sing Sound of Silence or September for under a minute, which feels weird to have all these abbreviated numbers. Trolls isn’t a very long movie and it felt like the songs were often there to puff up a weak script.
Once Branch and Poppy get to the bergen village the movie changes from a road trip to a Cyrano de Bergerac story where Poppy and the trolls work to help a scullery maid named Bridget get the self confidence to court the Bergen prince. This part I didn’t really enjoy very much and I particularly found Bridget to be an annoying character very badly voiced by Zooey Deschanel.
That said, there was a cheerfulness to Trolls that was infectious and made me smile. There were some nice moments of heart between Branch and Poppy and overall I think little kids will be entertained.
It’s very similar to Angry Birds Movie, so if you liked that than you will love Trolls. The message is a little better but the plots are very similar.
The voice casting was uneven. Like I said, I hated Zooey Deschanel but Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake were fine, and they certainly have the singing chops for the roles.
Unfortunately the biggest surprise for me was the uneven animation. I love the felt feel to the character design on the trolls but did not like the design of the bergens. I know they are supposed to be the bad guys but I had a hard time watching them.
Most of the animation had a Lisa Frank 90s bright colors feel but then there were sections where the rendering felt cheap and surprisingly weak. Parts reminded me of low-budget fair like the Tinkerbell movies.
So, Trolls is passable entertainment. If you have small kids they will probably like it. It has some nice animation. It has a few fun songs but it also has some poor animation and annoying songs. It has characters I liked and didn’t like. It’s just a mixed bag movie if I ever saw one.
It’s certainly a million times better than last year’s Home so there is that to be grateful for.
Overall Grade- C
Check out my youtube review