It may have been out for a while, but I finally got around to taking my family to see Dreamwork’s latest animated adventure. Could the happiest film in the world melt the heart of a grumpy Scotsman?
So, a film based on a toy doll, there would have been a time when I would never even contemplate going to see this but fatherhood has changed me, heck I even went to see (and enjoyed way more than I should have) a film based on a mobile phone game. I went to see Trolls and if I am being totally honest loved every retina burning, song laden, sugary, sentimental heart warming minute of it.
The Trolls are the happiest creatures on earth, they sing, they dance, they party, they scrap book and hug every hour. They are forced to flee their home in the Troll Tree after The Burgen, a group of horrible ogre like creatures realise they can only be happy if they eat a Troll. After being safely hidden for 20 years, The Burgen have found them again. After all her friends are kidnapped, plucky Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) enlists the help of grumpy loner Branch (Justin Timberlake) to help her mount a rescue.
The plot is pretty much unimportant, it gets the viewer from beginning to end with out too much in the way of surprises, this is about the experience and what an uplifting and fun experience it is. Now, I went into this in not the best of moods, I had worked my day off this week, stupidly booked the wrong film and the queue for coffee was too long to wait in. When the film started with an explosion of colour and noise, I feared the worst. Thankfully the film is so charming and delightful that even the grumpiest, most downbeat among you would struggle to stifle a smile or stop their foot from tapping.
The vocal leads elevate the film with Anna Kendrick wonderful as Princess Poppy, she has an infectious energy that can reach the most dour of viewer and invigorate the younger ones, my daughter is now obsessed with her. Justin Timberlake is great foil for her as the grouchy Branch, their interaction is a delight and it would be great to see these two work a live action film together one day. The rest of the voice cast James Corden, Russell Brand, Kunal Nayar and Gwen Stefani are wasted on stock characters, with Stefani and Nayar in particular given almost nothing to say. There are some nice vocal cameos from John Cleese and Jeffery Tambor, with the brilliant Christine Baranski suitably awful as the villain.
Along with the vocal leads, it is the music that makes this film so much fun. Yes, we have Timberlake’s Can’t Stop That Feeling! that was released a few months before the film, but it is the wonderful array of plucky cover versions that really hit the mark. A beautiful version of True Colours brought a tear to this grumpy man’s eye, Zooey Deshanel’s version of Lionel Ritchie’s Hello is a hoot and you think Disturbed did a good version of Sound of Silence? wait until you see this. All this and Poppy performing a great original song called Get Back Up Again will make this film live long in the memory.
While Dreamworks are still some way behind Disney is almost every area, Trolls is a wonderfully family film. Bright, colourful and easy on the eye with a foot tapping sound track and a genuinely heart warming message. I am known for being grumpy, but for an hour and a half today at least, I was a very happy man.
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.