"Trolls" is next in a long line of musicals featuring popular music. While its a catchy subgenre of movie, I can't say its particularly original. How come these movies don't write original music like Disney movies do? Do they use popular music to sell more tickets? Sure, sometimes the music can be used in a reasonable context, but sometimes I can get taken out of an experience completely when I am focusing on the song and the movie. I also feel that messes with the film's possible timelessness not using popular music. This is my winded paragraph trying to explain that I came into this really feeling like I was going to hate this movie.
Truth be told, I don't hate "Trolls." I think "Trolls" is a pleasant children's film. Its colorful animation is some of the sleekest animation you'll see in a theater all year, and after a strong animation year we've had, that should be taken as a high compliment. What really blew my mind was how offbeat some of the humor was. When it comes to children's movies, it can be easy to guess the type of laughs you'll get. In order to appeal to its target audience, the humor in kids movies are usually safe and full of slapstick. So be sure I was surprised when there were some offbeat humor moments that I thought worked with the film. No, "Trolls" is no "Sausage Party," but there were some unique moments that I think will surprise and delight adult audiences. It creates a state of enjoyment for all audiences that I felt something like "Ice Age: Collision Course" failed at earlier this year. The cast, which includes Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Russell Brand, and Gwen Stefani, all do solid voice work, creating sensational characters.
The trolls are a race of small creatures that live in an exclusive state of bliss. That happiness is thwarted when large creatures known as The Bergens arrive. The Bergens are not like the Trolls, they are never happy. But they can become happy when they eat a troll. They trapped the trolls in tree in a cage and each year, they have a festival where they eat the trolls. Sounds dark, but nothing horribly out-of-line occurs in the film and it does a good job of setting up genuine stakes for a movie. The king of trolls Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) leads an escape from The Bergens. Twenty years later, Peppy's daughter Poppy (Kendrick) plans a big party celebrating their escape, despite glum troll Branch (Timberlake) feeling the celebration will attract The Bergens. Which in fact, happens. So the trolls must once again escape the Bergens.
Its a simple story, but that's best for family films. "Trolls" features everything you'd expect to see from a children's movie: The next generation rising up against evil, a not-totally-evil character on the bad side, a character coming to terms with who they are, awakenings, etc. It so much so does this that it almost feels like a checklist. But the animation, the characters, and yes even the music is enough to make this one memorable enough!
FINAL GRADE: B