Film Review: ‘Trolls’ is a musical masterpiece with an all-star cast

Veronica Winham, Staff Writer

In 2016, many movies struggle with properly incorporating music because they try very hard to simply use the latest and most popular songs. The soundtrack for the funny, vibrant movie “Trolls” is not only its biggest strength but also the reason why you need to see this film. The actors’ voices fit their roles wonderfully, and the choice placement for songs, old and new, is always clear and smooth.

In “Trolls,” the Trolls, tiny, happy creatures that have time designated for hugging and singing, escape capture from the larger, gloomier Bergens. The Bergens can only feel happiness after eating a Troll, and they hold a festival every year to choose a Troll to eat. After the Trolls’ escape, twenty years goes by and Bergen Town becomes darker and more miserable, while the Trolls hold a party to celebrate the anniversary of their freedom.

Despite warning from the grumpy, secluded Branch (Justin Timberlake), carefree, lively Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) hosts her party anyway. The scary former Bergen chef (Christine Baranski), banished twenty years prior, is able to use the loud commotion and flashing lights to find the Trolls’ hideout. Chef takes several of Poppy’s closest friends (Gwen Stefani, Russell Brand, James Corden) back to Bergen Town so that she can be re-admitted and, with the holiday restored, back in a place of power.

After much convincing, begging, and bribing, Poppy convinces Branch to leave his sheltered cave and join her on the rescue mission. The journey is filled with dangerous creatures but does not compare to the new challenges raised when they actually reach Bergen Town, where they have no plan of how to save the Trolls. Poppy befriends a Bergen scullery maid in the castle, named Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), who is in charge of guarding the Trolls. Bridget agrees to help the Trolls if they help her get a date. From the shrine in her room to her admiration for him from the start of the film, it is obvious whom Bridget adores: King Gristle Jr (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). While it seems as though the movie will be predictable after this friendship is created, this is far from true. New problems are constantly presented, and relationships suddenly changed.

The packed, all-star cast of “Trolls” is one that would be expected to produce a great film. Under the direction of Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell, this is the case. The songs (including “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” and “True Colors,” as well as many others made specifically for the film) are combined with lively bright and cute animation. The Trolls and Bergens differ from their clothes, to the manner in which they carry themselves, to their village settings.

The relationship between Poppy and Branch is the most predictable part of this film, but it is still sweet. Before they set out on their mission, Branch is the only grey Troll, and the only Troll who refuses to sing, dance, or hug. While he symbolizes darkness, Poppy is the light and with her irresistible charm and big imagination she makes not only Branch happy, but the audience happy as well. The feelings they discover toward each other changes both of their outlooks on their lives and on past events.

The plot of “Trolls” is not as strong as the music, which adds to the movie,and without it, I probably would not have had as strong of an opinion. It seems more a soundtrack first then a movie, rather than the other way around. Trolls is still refreshing and unique in its own way.

This animated movie is the kind that makes you want to dance, and while you do not have to rush to theaters, seeing it once it comes out on TV or DVD is recommended, especially if you have kids or younger siblings to watch it with. This film is definitely more for children, but adults can take away messages from it, too, about developing relationships, being optimistic, and helping those different from you. The cast and sound effects are well selected, and “Trolls” made me smile, laugh, and even tear up.

Grade: B+
Rated: PG
Length: 92 minutes
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Directed by: Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christine Baranski