Director(s): Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Zoeey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake, Christine Baranski, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, James Corden
We’re living in an age now where a film can pretty much be made out of anything. There was the ‘Angry Birds Movie’ based on the popular app, and in the next few years we have an Emoji movie to look forward to, and of course the film adaptation of the game which has been crying out for a movie – Fruit Ninja. However before that, we’re going back a little further, with ‘Trolls’, which reinvents the popular hair-raising plastic toys that were all the rage in the 1990s.
It might not have been the film we were all calling for, but ‘Trolls’ is a movie which wears its cuteness and its zaniness proudly on its multi-coloured sleeves, and this is something which has to at least be commended. The opening voice-over isn’t lying when it says all the trolls do is hug, dance, and sing, as that is pretty much the entire plot. It is also worth noting that this is the type of film where there are characters which poop cupcakes and fart glitter. It is so zany, and so out there, that it is near impossible to not be at least a little bit charmed by it, and it is also worth remembering that we “adults” are absolutely not the target demographic for this movie, so expecting anything more than a fairly enjoyable hour and a half would be foolish.
‘Trolls’ isn’t a very good movie if you’re not a child, but it definitely isn’t the worst kids film I’ve seen, and it was a lot better than it really had any right to be. The story is very simplistic, but it is obnoxiously bright, colourful, toe-tapping, and so damn infectiously perky that it’s really difficult not to at least enjoy some of it. I’m not a fan of kids films which have an overuse of pop music as it always comes across like a distraction technique, as if to say “don’t worry about how terrible the film is folks, here’s a pop song”, but I was pleasantly surprised by the music used in this film. There’s the expected throwaway current pop tunes, but also some catchy and quirky original songs, and some uses of older songs from such varied artists as Lionel Richie, Simon & Garkunkel and Gorillaz that are truly inspired. There is a surprisingly lovely version of True Colours as well, which has a pretty neat visual sequence to go along with it.
Whilst I think the voice cast do an okay job (apart from James Corden, who is living proof that his voice is just as annoying as his face), they have a truly terrible script to work with in places. It’s incredibly cringey and the jokes seem really forced, but it’s also an odd combination of being a little bit too smart for kids, but far too dumb for the adults to appreciate. It’s pitched so solidly in the middle of these two groups that it is really difficult to see exactly who this is intended for. A kid’s film need to be aimed at kids, but it is always the case that the ones which have a decent storyline or clever nods to an older audience, which adults can appreciate and which end up having the widespread appeal. ‘Trolls’ just seems to exist somewhere in between, and I don’t doubt that people will enjoy this for all its surface level cute and cuddly hairiness, but beneath that, it ends up being rather redundant, which is a real shame.
‘Trolls’ was better than I thought it was going to be, but then again I was expecting an utter car crash. It’s very cute, the song and dance numbers are hit and miss but some work really well, and I guess somewhere underneath the glitter and pops of colour there is a nice message about happiness and loving each other. You won’t have a completely terrible time watching it, but you certainly won’t be in a rush to go out and revisit it. If you’re the parent of small children, I wish you luck as you have to listen to the soundtrack to this on repeat! But still, at least it might stop them listening to Frozen.