Trolls (2016) Review

With its DayGlo aesthetic and unashamedly sunny disposition, “Trolls” may prove to be too sugary a confection for some viewers. If, however, you’re a fan of silliness, cuteness and jukebox musicals, “Trolls” is an unabashed delight.

Having escaped from the dreaded Bergens long ago, the Trolls are living happily in their hidden forest home. But when Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) throws the biggest ever party, she accidentally gives away the village’s location and must team up with grumpy Troll survivalist Branch (Justin Timberlake) to rescue her friends.

There’s not a great deal of complexity on offer in “Trolls” but its simplicity is its chief virtue.  The straightforward narrative is lavishly adorned with surprisingly snappy dialogue and a rich array of visual gags which all serve the story – a refreshing change after a succession of animated films which felt more like a string of jokes held together by a flimsy afterthought of a story (I’m looking at you, “Storks“…).

Another bonus is the soundtrack, a winning mixture of original songs and cover versions, skilfully arranged and attuned to the movie’s personality.  The voice cast is pretty spectacular, with Kendrick and Timberlake leading the pack followed closely by Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Zooey Deschanel as the Bergen Prince Gristle Jr and his scullery maid Bridget. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry (if you don’t even dab at your eyes during ‘True Colours’ you’re a monster) as these fuzzy-haired heroes sing, dance and hug their way through this rainbow-hued adventure.

Visually, the film is a real treat. Not just in the dazzling array of colours but in the character design and the rendering of the world of the Trolls. Such is the attention to detail that Dreamworks’ latest manages to rival the stop motion artistry of Laika’s recent output.

If you can leave your cynicism at the door, this wholesomely harmless, happy movie will put a great big smile on your face: I will never not find the spider saying ‘hello’ during ‘The Sound Of Silence’ funny. It’s bright, breezy and irresistibly sentimental – and I loved it.


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