Trolls review: The latest family animation from Dreamworks Animation will have your feet tapping continuously. Is this the best feature animation since Zootropolis?
Trolls review by Paul Heath, LFF 2016.
Dreamworks Animation submit their last film under the direct supervision of out-going boss Jeffrey Kateznberg following the sale of the company to Universal/ Comcast – a multi-coloured Trolls from directors Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn.
The story revolves around a group of happy, multi-coloured Trolls who come under threat from the bigger, uglier, more dominant species of Bergens who are intent on eating them all up (because it makes them feel happy). Heading up the spikey-haired Trolls is the energetic, constantly cheery Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) who must team with the bloody miserable Branch (Justin Timberlake) to save their home, the glitter-sprinkled Troll Town, from those pesky Bergens who are lining them all up for a big meal.
As with all of these big Hollywood animated efforts, the film has an amazing vocal cast. As well as the gifted Kendrick and Timberlake, we have current hot-property James Corden voicing the character of Biggie, Russell Brand as the double-crossing Creek, pop superstar Gwen Stafani as DJ Suki, the trolls’ residential DJ, Kunal Nayyar as Guy Diamond (who is just brilliant) and Zooey Deschanel as Bridget, a key character in the story – a Bergen with a good heart who must overcome her own self-confidence to bag herself a date with Prince Gristle, the prince of the Bergens, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Trolls has many layers – of course – and the plot device that the Bergens can gain happiness from popping a Troll down their neck has many metaphors (which will suitably fly over its younger audience’s head) is just one of many. The filmmakers had a blank canvas when it came to creating a story from the classic property and have nailed it perfectly.
Trolls is laden with great music – a lot of it coming from its lead Justin Timberlake who has contributed original material and quality covers to the soundtrack (this summer’s ‘Cant Stop This Feeling‘ is still very fresh in one’s memory and features prominently). Timberlake’s tunes inject an energy into an already hyper story that is frantically paced, glorious to look and full of plot beats to delight everyone in the audience. Unlike some of the other animated movies that have been delivered into cinemas of late – this is one to appeal to the younger members of the audience as well. Despite some moments of peril, there’s nothing really threatening here to scare younger children at all, which is another plus for the film.
There’s a wonderful message throughout this movie and although the story may have a lot to thank Cinderella for – even down to the lost shoe – the film is very original, wonderfully told. It’s funny, tons of fun all of the way through and one of the highlights of the year. We found our happy place. We’re sure you will too.
Trolls review by Paul Heath, October 2016.
Trolls plays as the Family Gala at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival. It will open in cinemas nationwide from October 21st 2016.