To accompany my review of the latest Pixar film earlier this week, I was going to watch Coco. That would have meant buying a copy or renting it on Amazon. As I’m about to get a Disney+ subscription later this month, I decided that it was stupid to spend more money on it. So, I decided to go with something about fantasy creatures instead. I’d never seen Trolls but I bloody love that Justin Timberlake song. It’s the kind of irritating pop song that you know you shouldn’t like but you can’t help it. I just get swept away in it’s happy and upbeat melody. Plus, I do have a general love of Justin Timberlake. And I might like Anna Kendrick but I can’t really tell. She’s one of those irritatingly perfect human beings that I kind of love but am also incredibly jealous of. She’s kind of perfect and just reminds me of how imperfect I am.
When I was younger, I used to love a good troll doll. The hair, the weird faces, and the naked bodies were strangely adorable. And the pencil toppers. God, I loved a good troll pencil topper. I just bloody love trolls so the fact that there was going be a film about them did interest me. However, it was also a film that decided to cast James Corden in it and I’m not sure I can fully commit to any film that does that. Save for a few diamonds in the rough, his film career has been pretty dire so far. The man will agree to be in any old shite.
Trolls is a really simple story that is based around two mismatched trolls heading out to rescue their friends. Princess Poppy is the embodiment of everything trolls love. She sings, she dances, she scrapbooks everything, and she leads a sunshine-filled life with the rest of the troll people. Except for Branch who is a pessimistic and cautious troll who lost his bright colours following a tragic event in his past. When the troll’s city is discovered by an awful creature who wants to eat them, the pair must come together to get them back. The Bergens are miserable beings who used to find happiness one day every year by eating trolls. 20 years earlier, the trolls escaped from the Bergens thanks to Poppy’s dad but now they’ve been discovered. Can Poppy and Branch resue the lost trolls before they get eaten?
Trolls is a film that is selling a message of happiness. It s a film that wants to bring joy, colour, and song into everyone’s heart. The animation is simple and gives the popular 80s/90s toy a bit of a facelift for their big-screen debut. Though, just as it was in real life, the hair is the important thing here. We see the little creatures do insane things with their mane and the world they inhabit is something of a wonderland. Though we don’t really get much time to explore it. The film is very much to the point and doesn’t really give you much time for things like world-building or character development. Instead, it just ploughs on with the story and gets as many musical numbers in there as possible. Oh, and a thin subplot based around Cinderella.
Ultimately, Trolls is a sweet and charming film. The two main characters are both well-cast and really bring a good energy to the musical numbers. The problem is, there is no real story here. This is a film that relies on its visuals and musical numbers to hide the fact that it’s half Cinderella and half thinly plotted out rescue mission. The main storyline would only last about 15 minutes if you take away the subplots and musical numbers. Yes, it’s a colourful and fun film to watch but it certainly lacks substance. And the majority of the voice performances are only there to add names to the poster. Trolls isn’t a terrible film. It’s just a film that cares more about the superficial aspects and not enough about the foundation. You may very well walk out wanting to sing and dance but you won’t remember much about the story a few hours later.