Steven Escareno is an amateur film critic that writes about movies in his spare time.
6 / 10
- Great art direction.
- The character designs and the unique look of this world is simply amazing. Very creative on the animators' part.
- Cinematography was great. Definitely captured the vast, colorful, yet semi-dark world these trolls live in.
- Humor was great. While the writing for this movie leaves a lot to be desired, the jokes for this movie are pretty spot on.
- The voice acting is great as they all work off each other perfectly. The comedic timing of Justin Timerlake and the rest of the cast is solid.
- The original songs have a nice melody and catchy lyrics.
- Pacing was decent.
- Sound editing and mixing was OK.
- The 3-D visuals were great if you chose to catch the 3-D version of this film.
- Apart from the two main characters, Poppy and Branch, the rest of the characters are either annoying, or they're just forgettable because they lack any kind of distinctive personality.
- Story is very predictable and cliched.
- Some of the songs they borrowed for this jukebox musical feel a bit forced at times.
- Weak generic script.
CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!
A movie based on a toy line that's actually OK? Wow, what are the odds? While "Trolls" does leave a lot to be desired, it's not a bad film either. The story is based on the popular "Trolls" toy line, which features little dolls that are buck naked, with long brightly colored hairdos.
The story revolves around a Troll princess named Poppy (played by the lovely Anna Kendrick), who decides to throw a party for her people, to celebrate an event. However, Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake) is against the idea because he fears that it might lure the Bergens to finding them again. As it's explained in the story, Trolls seem to be naturally happy creatures, while the Bergens are always unhappy and miserable. The only way for the Bergens to ever feel happiness is by eating a troll, which is why the trolls are always hiding from them. Needless to say, Poppy doesn't listen.
A Bergen show up to steal some of the Trolls so it's up to Poppy and Branch to save their people. Branch is a overbearing pessimist, and Poppy is a overly zealous optimist, so unless you've never seen a movie before in your life, then chances are you already know how this one is going to end.
In fact, they don't even try to hide how predictable this story is either. In the film, Poppy starts off with another love interest named Creek, who's something of a rival for Branch, who might have something of a crush on Poppy. Or at least, that's what's suggested in one particular scene. And while I hesitate to give away any key details to this story, I will say that Creek's name does seem awfully similar to the word "creep", which Creek certainly lives up to at one point in the film.
The story arc involving Poppy and Branch was too obvious from the start. They're both contrasting personalities, yet it's implied in the first act that Branch might have a crush on her? Yeah, I think it's safe to say we already know what's going happen between them.
Sadly, this film doesn't leave much for surprises, as it's basically a by the numbers animated film for kids. No deeper subtext into the characters, or anything of that nature. Just a simple kids' film at best. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being a straight up kids' film that's by the numbers, as long as the humor is there. And for the most part, the jokes are funny. Granted, it's nowhere near the same level as something like "Zootopia", in terms of its humor. However, it's nothing that would make anyone cringe while watching it.
The animation is nice, and the visual style of the movie itself is rather interesting. If nothing else, the film does give you an aesthetically unique experience that you won't find in any other animated feature.
I especially loved the art direction and the character designs for this film, as each character was given their own unique look that definitely makes them stand apart from each other. Sadly, I can't say that about their personalities.
While the two main characters, Poppy and Branch, seem be written fairly decent, the rest of the characters are a different story. Many of the supporting characters lack any kind of distinctive personality, and some can be downright annoying.
However, the mediocre writing can be easily forgiven, by the fact that the emphasis of the film wasn't so much on the narrative itself, but rather the humor it generates. Would it have been nice to get a better story along the lines of "Kubo and the Two Strings" or "Finding Dory?" Absolutely. However, you can't always expect Oscar contenders when watching these type of movies.
Having said all of that, I do feel like there's one more urgent matter to address. In spite of this movie's trailers, most of the songs are not original to "Trolls." Apart from a few original ones that were written specifically for this film, most of the songs are ones that I'm sure most audiences have heard before. Consisting of such classics like "Hello", "Sound of Silence" and "True Colors", to name a few; thereby making this movie a jukebox musical.
Not that there's anything wrong with jukebox musicals, but as we've seen with others like "Strange Magic", sometimes the songs they borrow from don't always tend to be the best fit, or they can detract from the narrative itself. In the case of "Trolls", I'm not going to say the songs detract from the story itself considering they don't even take their own story that seriously. Hell, there's even a scene, where Branch says a "song" killed his family, which it kind of did considering how it's setup, and the trolls are even self aware that they're singing, so that should say it all right there.
However, I will say that some of the songs feel a bit forced, and a bit unnecessary at times. For example. When Branch finishes telling his story about how his mother was killed because of his singing, the rest of the Trolls, along with a friendly Bergen, are singing some random sad pop song that kind of kills the moment.
But in spite of it's flaws, "Trolls" was an OK-ish film that isn't quite interesting enough to deserve any Oscar recognition for next year, but it's not horrible enough to where I could call it a bad film either. At best, it's a fairly inoffensive family film that most people will enjoy. And at worst, it's just a forgettable by the numbers cliche movie that probably won't be mentioned again anytime soon. Overall though, "Trolls" might be worth checking out on Netflix someday, but I wouldn't pay to see this theaters.
© 2016 Steven Escareno
Scribbling Geek from Singapore on November 21, 2016:
I guess it's one of those colourful shows you watch to feel good afterwards, or bring kids to.