REVIEW: Musical Scenes Are Greatest Feature Of ‘Trolls’ Movie

It’s nice to see something with the name Trolls and have it not be related to the internet in any way.

Instead, it’s the latest animated feature to hit the big screen and it’s based off the old toys with wild hair. As the name suggests, the film tells the story of Trolls, a race of happy-go-lucky beings who live in harmony, that is when they’re not under attack from the Bergens, giant creatures who only find joy from eating trolls.

Fortunately, at the film’s outset, the Trolls haven’t had to deal with the Bergens for two decades. One day they’re discovered, though, and a number of Trolls are captured by a vicious Bergen Chef. As a result, the Trolls Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and a rather grumpy Troll named Branch (Justin Timberlake) go on a rescue mission/adventure.

“Trolls” takes the classic animated blueprint of having characters go on an adventure and learn somethings about life and friendship along the way, so most adults in the audience will already know which way this one is going. It’s not to say that formula is bad, this year’s “Kubo and the Two Strings” used it very well and “Finding Nemo” was built on that structure and it’s a classic.

This film doesn’t reach those levels, though. While the film is certainly exciting and the story has some fun turns, there isn’t anything as compelling or memorable as other animated pictures out there.

Fortunately, “Trolls” is a picture that relies more on its visuals and its musical numbers, and those work a great deal in the flick’s favor. The animation, for example, is bright, vibrant and has a lot going on. Everything on screen is well rendered, but also full of zany, cartoony shapes to keep with the fun tone of the movie.

The musical acts are also enjoyable. While the songs certainly aren’t on the level as other animated films in recent years, it doesn’t match up to “Try Everything” from “Zootopia,” for example, there’s still enough musical goodness for a person to tap their feet to.

Similar to the story, the characters in Trolls are mostly predictable. However, the protagonists Poppy and Branch are also very likable and they win a person over after a while. Unfortunately, the same can’t really be said for the more villainous characters Chef (Christine Baranski) and King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). I feel as if there was potential to make these characters more memorable.

“Trolls” is impressive for both the eyes and the ears, so those with young kids may want to check this one out at a matinee, otherwise, families may want to just wait for this one on home video. High 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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