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Trolls - Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

A SUGAR coated candy rush of colourful, glittery excess, Trolls is a family movie clearly designed to leave you on the highest of highs.

But while certainly fun in places, and even inspired at others, this latest from the creators of Shrek sometimes overdoses on the sweetness and leaves you feeling bloated and sick. That being said, kids will have a blast and a new franchise could well be born.

Inspired by the classic toy dolls with long hair and hollow heads that became something of a phenomenon in the ’60s, Trolls also takes its cues from past animated hits such as Shrek, The Smurfs and Happy Feet with a large dollop of Disney thrown in for good measure.

The plot follows a happy princess named Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) whose decision to throw the biggest party ever for her fellow Trolls grabs the unwanted attention of a bitter, banished Bergen named Chef (Christine Baranski), who subsequently rounds the little people up to serve to her fellow Bergens as happy meals (quite literally, given their belief that by eating a Troll they will find happiness).

It’s left to Poppy and fellow surviving Troll Branch (Justin Timberlake) to mount a rescue operation, which – in turn – relies on them being able to put aside their differences and enlist the unlikely help of an outcast Bergen.

Early on, there’s a keen sense of fun and pop culture references that play as well to adults as they do to kids, with the songs – overseen by Timberlake – inviting some colourful dance routines that are clearly designed to have the children dancing in the aisles.

But once the film arrives at Bergentown and detours into a Cinderella sub-plot, it loses momentum and feels lazy. The zip is missing and the messages are all too obvious. It’s not until Timberlake gets to sing a beautifully melancholy cover version of Cindy Lauper’s True Colours that the film rediscovers its own magic.

Thereafter, it’s a countdown to another of Timberlake’s songs, the irresistibly catchy Can’t Stop The Feeling, which ensures the film ends on the same kind of rush that it began.

Hence, while never achieving the levels of sophistication or invention that mark Pixar out as the continued standard-bearers for this kind of thing, Trolls works on its own, more simplistic merits.

Kendrick and Timberlake make for engaging vocal leads, there are some fine oddball characters along the way (including Walt Dohrn’s deliberately annoying Cloud Guy), as well as some suitably colourful landscapes and more than one or two sight and musical gags to savour.

And while the flaws are many and obvious, Trolls is lively enough to overcome most of them to emerge as a generally satisfying experience.

Certificate: U
Running time: 92mins
UK Release Date: October 15, 2016