Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Running Time: 93 mins
Trolls is an American film about two trolls living in a safe haven from the Bergens, until one day comes when their town is uncovered and attacked by their predators, leading them to go on an epic quest to save their friends and family from destruction.
In truth, this film fulfilled every single expectation I had going in. It’s a bright, upbeat and musical adventure that will easily keep kids entertained and smiling for its entire duration. On the one hand, the happy and colourful vibes are a lot of fun, but given the film’s painfully formulaic story, occasionally excessive cheeriness and obnoxious musical numbers, Trolls is often more annoying than the pleasant family affair that it could be.
However, let’s start on the bright side, with the incredibly bright colours. If there’s any reason that kids (we’re looking at 8 years and under) are going to like this, it’s because it’s full of colours and joy wherever you look. A perfect merchandising picture, Trolls does the job of being the kaleidoscopic family distraction it needs to, but also goes a little further by usually being happy from the heart, which did bring a smile to my face from time to time.
Another positive from this film is the voice cast. It’s an A-list ensemble, and the likes of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all put in energetic and entertaining performances. The screenplay doesn’t give them much to work with, but in fulfilling the primary objective of being upbeat and enjoyable, you can’t fault the cast here.
Despite that, the ultra-happiness of this film is something that’s likely to wear thin for anyone over 8 years old, and unfortunately turn into a more annoying watch than anything. Of course, this film is great for its target audience, but I would definitely warn any parents or anyone else thinking of watching this that it’s going to get boring very quickly, and then get even more irritating.
A large part of that is down to the story. The quest to rescue x and y is probably the most overplayed plot formula in kids’ movies. Now, some films have proved that to be a great watch (Finding Nemo for example), but usually by offering a little more depth than simply watching the characters walk through various landscapes and then sing a song at the end.
Here, however, there’s very little beneath the surface. Again, it’s bright and colourful, and that’s all young kids need for an enjoyable watch, but the story’s lack of depth and originality becomes painfully apparent very early on, and sets you up for a good hour of totally predictable and uninteresting adventure clichés.
All of that’s pretty bad, but if there’s one thing that I really hated about this film, then it’s the music. Heavily advertised as a musical before release, you’d be forgiven for expecting some entertaining melodies here, but that’s not the case. We know how good singers Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and Zooey Deschanel are, but this film just pushes the music way too much.
Constantly getting in the way of the plot’s development, the music seems to only be there to get the runtime over 70 minutes, failing to give you the same love for singing as the trolls do. The specific songs are generally classic pop hits, but jukebox musicals only work if the music fits in the film, and it just didn’t come together here, with a weird variety of songs (including The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel for some reason) that is yet again for annoying and distracting than entertaining.
Overall, whilst it’s definitely an enjoyable watch for young children, given its bright colours, simple plot and upbeat vibes, Trolls is unfortunately a pretty intolerable watch for anyone else. Its shallow and formulaic story is boring, its happy atmosphere gets on your nerves pretty quickly, and the music is intrusive and annoying at every moment, which is why I’m giving Trolls a 6.5.