Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel
Wait, this isn’t about the deplorable idiots on the internet? That’s one good title wasted.
Dreamworks Animation’s latest release has gone literal with Trolls, a film that seems to have come straight out of a unicorn wonderland, with a heavy overdose of colours, enough to give you a seizure. If it had not been for those darker-than-dark 3D glasses, there would be no escaping the deathly migraine.
An overdose of colour is only surpassed by an overdose of ‘happiness’. A clichéd, empty moral that has to come with every animated movie and this time, it is: The happiness is within you. A preaching that seems to be aimed at perhaps people battling depression, telling them to just ‘be’ happy. Sure, just dance to any of Justin Timberlake’s happy songs and just ‘be’ happy. How difficult is it, right?
The film, brings to screen one of the most popular toys to ever exist (that somehow never hit the Indian shores), Thomas Dam’s tiny, weird Troll dolls with candy floss-like colourful hair. Thankfully for us, the animators realised that the characters need to be cuter than their original, creepy selves and the product is far more pleasing to the eyes. They’re like The Smurfs but just more colourful.
The trolls live in a world made entirely out of felt fabric and are always irritatingly happy. The dance, sing and hug each other at regular intervals. But then comes a day when one of the many evil Bergens (a huge, ugly, colourless and morbidly depressed species that eats the Trolls to feel happiness) attacks their villages and abducts a few trolls. The princess of the trolls, Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) then takes it upon herself to find her friends with the help of another, rather reluctant troll, Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake).
Branch has to suffer Poppy’s incessant singing and chatting on a journey to the Bergen village that must look to him a lot like Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor. In the Bergen village, the royal chef is preparing a feast for the kingdom with the captured trolls as the special ingredient. The only hope to save the day and restore peace in the troll village is now our pink princess and her grey friend.
After movies like How To Train You Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks tried to again make us feel things (mostly a lot of ‘happiness’) with Trolls as well but the simple, empty story, flat characters, redundant premise didn’t let that happen. Trolls, at best, seems like a one-and-a-half-hour-long animated video for Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling, mankind’s new anthem for happiness since Pharell William’s aptly titled song, Happy.
The trolls dance in our faces and tell us to be happy but the message has been said in speeches, written on posters, engraved into the walls so often that it just does not mean anything anymore. The Bergens pop trolls like anti-depressants, but one day that pills speaks to him and tells him to not eat it but just find happiness inside you. What does that even mean?
The only source of happiness in the film was the peppy soundtrack, made up of weird but fantastically fitting songs from ’70s disco, Simon and Garfunkel, Lionel Ritchie, The Notorious B.I.G, even Edvard Grieg and a few originals. All of these, however, were only building up to Can’t Stop The Feeling, of course.
Trolls is cute, cuddly offering for little kids, made only slightly tolerable for their accompanying parents. It won’t kill you but you will not want to live for it either. So if you love your kid a lot, then what the hell, book your tickets. But only if you love your kid a lot.
Sigh, if only the trolls on the internet also believed in spreading happiness instead of suffering.
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