Trolls

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Trolls
"With their Day-Glo colours, singing and attitude to hugging, this is probably one of the few animations that will simultaneously appeal to the very young, any parents nostalgic for rave culture and grandparents who tuned in and dropped out."

In the late Fifties, while the Belgians were busy creating the Smurfs, a Danish woodcutter crafted a wooden toy for his daughter that would spark a similar franchise - Trolls. These odd looking small dolls with brightly coloured shocks of hair have gone on to enjoy on and off popularity ever since, with the next wave likely to be sparked by this enjoyable, if slight, musical animation.

The Trolls main occupation is being happy, their days broken only by a little light scrapbook making, singing and hugging. In short, they are all about those fuzzy feelings - an idea that the animators have taken to heart, showing their scrapbook adventures as a sort of Fuzzy Felt construction and giving all the characters a softened, plush edge and clothing, no doubt aware that naked dolls are probably not the way to go with tie-in character merchandise these days. With their Day-Glo colours, singing and attitude to hugging, this is probably one of the few animations that will simultaneously appeal to the very young, any parents nostalgic for rave culture and grandparents who tuned in and dropped out.

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Being permanently positive has made the Trolls a target for a town of ogres called Bergens, who believe the only way for them to be happy is to eat a Troll on Trollstice. But as Prince Gristle (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) prepares for his first taste of happiness, the Trolls stage a rebellion and flee their homes. Fast-forward 20 years and things are as miserable as ever in Bergentown, while the Trolls are preparing for the biggest party ever under the watchful eye of the feisty - and highly tuneful - Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick on vocals). Despite dire warnings from gloomy Troll Branch (Justin Timberlake), who has become washed out from all his doom-mongering, the party goes ahead, attracting the unwanted attentions of the Bergen's wicked witch-like Chef (Christine Baranaski), who swipes a pocketful of the little creatures, sparking a rescue mission by Poppy and Branch.

What makes the film so much fun is the constant inventiveness, which also serves up just the right degree of childhood subversiveness - such as the sparkly trolls who fart glitter. The songs blend dance classics like Earth, Wind & Fire's September and Lipps Inc's Funky Town with modern rap remixes, with even the Bergens getting to have some fun with Gorillaz' Sunshine In A Bag and Lionel Richie's Hello. The second half of the film also finds room to work in a Cinderella subplot involving lovelorn scullery maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) that has an enjoyable pay off. With additional vocal work from the likes of John Cleese as the Bergen King and Russell Brand as a hippy who turns out to be quite a nasty piece of work, there's never a dull moment.

The message, that no matter how fabulous your hair is happiness comes from within, is a simple one but delivered effectively for a younger audience, while adults are likely to enjoy what amounts to a non-fattening, tooth-friendly sugar rush.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2016
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Animation, sees the Trolls threatened by miserable ogres.
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