The perpetually depressed Bergens must feed on the happy-go-lucky Trolls if they are to feel anyway cheerful but when the Trolls make a run for it the population of Bergen Town is thrown into further despair. Now happily hidden away, Princess Poppy (Kendrick) decides to throw a spectacular party to celebrate the anniversary of the exodus, the grandiose celebrations drawing the attention of exiled Bergen (Christine Baranski), who kidnaps some Trolls and makes for home. To make amends Poppy, along with pessimistic Branch (Timberlake), plans to sneak into Bergen Town and rescue their friends...
A cynical cash-in to flog a toy it is but the Trolls script from Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (writers of the Kung Fu Panda and Alvin and the Chipmunks series) does everything it can to ensure one forgets about the marketing and enjoy the story. It largely succeeds – Trolls is a fun if predictable romp with a wacky sense of humour that will appeal to the adults, whose eyes may take a while to adjust to the bright dayglow colours; the 3D dampening the visuals comes in handy for once. The kids will enjoy the seemingly endless series of dance numbers to popular tunes (Junior Senior, Simon & Garfunkel, Gorillaz, Lionel Richie, Cindi Lauper, etc), complete with Troll-altered lyrics.
It takes a while to get into the groove, though, with the rather uninvolving opening morphing into a typical road movie section, a sequence buoyed only by the dangerous and bizarre creatures that inhabit this crazy world. But once the action moves to Bergen Town Trolls really comes into its own: it’s here we meet the sad king (Mintz-Plasse) and the shy scullery maid (Deschanel) who loves him so - a subplot offers up more fun and warmth than anything else on show.
What it has to say for itself is somewhat troublesome. There’s an emphasis on being happy – You. Must. Be. Happy – a state of being which is of utmost importance. Everything can be solved with a smile and a dance and a hug. “The world isn’t cupcakes and rainbows - bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Timberlake’s curmudgeon but by the close his one dissenting voice sees the error in this stinkin’ thinkin’ and becomes a smiling, dancing hugger like the rest. Conform. Be like everyone else. Buy the toy. This flies in the face of the brave message behind Inside Out: it’s okay to be sad sometimes because that’s part of life too.
And because of that Inside Out will be talked about in twenty years. Trolls, despite being entertaining, won’t. Russell Brand, James Corden, John Cleese and Gwen Stefani fill out the rest of the cast (but I have to google that).
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:54 | Wednesday 19th October 2016 | Movie Review