Every “kids movie” has to navigate that fine balance between being entertaining enough for kids to be engrossed for 90 minutes but not be too corny and super sweet that parents can’t enjoy it too. Pixar knows how to do this perfectly, Disney’s animated studio is very good too and for the most part, Trolls doesn’t do a bad job either.
Anyone who was a huge fan of the Trolls of the 80s and 90s will be sorely disappointed. This isn’t the small, ugly plastic dolls with synthetic, neon hair that filled kid’s bedrooms. This is an up-to-date version which have cute charm, much more discernible features and love music. They’re also, apparently, tasty – which is why the Bergens want to eat them and kidnap some of the characters for a huge feast. It lands to Anna Kendrick’s Poppy and Justin Timberlake’s Branch to save their friends while undertaking a perilous journey… and as far as plots go, that is your lot.
To be fair, hidden within, but not well, is a story about acceptance, inner beauty, what makes people happy and finding your “true colours.” You won’t find anything new or inventive here but you will be entertained and as much as the morals and messages are signposted from a mile away, the way they are delivered is still effective.
This is partly down to the two main characters. Kendrick’s Poppy is the ever-joyous, annoyingly upbeat heroine who loves crafts. Timberlake’s Branch is the loner survivalist who hates all things joyous. It is an odd-couple story but the chemistry between the two works and makes for some very funny moments.
The use of songs works well too. The music covers a huge variety of genres, from Simon and Garfunkel to Lionel Richie through to Pink, and their uses are often very clever. Hello is sung as a tale of unrequited love while True Colours is delivered in a heartbreakingly fitting scene. Other songs are used to deliver the injection of bright colours and sounds which flood the kid’s senses though and these are moments when the movie feels slightly too “kiddie.”
Overall, Trolls is an entertaining movie with a good message. The story is nothing new but the cast bring it to life ably, with some good chemistry from the leads. The songs save the film and are used very well but you won’t escape the colour and kiddie overload at times.
Rating – 3
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