Film Review – Trolls
“Happiness is inside all of us, sometimes you just need someone to help you find it.”
The 90’s was a fun time with fun toys for me and millions of American children all over the nation. Connect four, Slinky, Simon, Moon Shoes, Chinese Jacks, Tamogotchi – to name a few. Troll dolls are definitely nostalgic for us 30-somethings who grew up in the 90’s. (If you wanna truly feel nostalgic, go here.) When I realized that they made a movie starring the lovable creatures, at first I cringed thinking about what they did with Jem and the Holograms. That movie ruined the feel-good feelings I used to have when I thought of watching that show religiously as a child. I digress, sorry. After watching the trailer and seeing that Anna Kendrick lent her voice to the lead character, I immediately became interested.
The movie Trolls had it all. An intriguing fictional story, frightening antagonists, a determined lead character, fun supporting characters, a gloomy character with a lesson to learn, catchy upbeat music, eye-catching & colorful scenes and a moral children can take home with them. I’ve always wondered where Trolls came from. I imagined they came from a forest much like FernGully: The Last Rainforest . The writers painted a world full of magic and color so wonderfully that it makes me happy that children of today can truly appreciate what Trolls have brought to us as children.
The origination of the Trolls was not explained but it’s not relevant to the storyline. All you needed to know was that the huge tree that the Trolls lived in was smack-dab in the middle of Bergen Town, a town full of huge ogre-like creatures called Bergens who live terribly sad and miserable lives and don’t know one iota of happiness. UNTIL they discover that eating a Troll would give them 24 hours of euphoria once a year on a day called Trollstice. They are lead by King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Christine Branski voices Chef, a power-tripped Bergen who is exiled because she could not provide the meal for Trollstice. Chef then becomes enraged and determined to find the Trolls to prove to the King that she is worthy and secretly plans to take over the kingdom.
Trolls are extremely happy creatures who live to sing, dance, party, scrap book and HUG! Even as they are forced to leave their happy tree home led by King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) to escape the perils of being Bergen bait, they inhabit a small area of the forest and start over, living 20 years of Bergen-free bliss. Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the king’s daughter, grows up and is soon to be the leader of the Trolls. Poppy plans the biggest party ever to celebrate 20 years of “No Bergens” which attracts Chef and causes many of her Troll friends to be captured. Poppy takes it upon herself to rescue her friends and seeks out the help of the one Troll who knows all about the Bergens, Branch.
Branch (Justin Timberlake) is the one Troll who is NOT like the other Trolls. He’s like Grumpy Bear from the Care Bears. Branch lost his luster after a traumatizing event involving a Bergen and his grandmother. Although he initially refuses to help Poppy, he reluctantly goes after her not to help her, but to prove to her that his theory that her friends have already been eaten is right. Throughout their journey together, Branch and Poppy work together – most of the time un-harmoniously – to get their friends back, even enlisting the help of one scullery maid Bergen named Bridget (Zooey Deschanel). Of course this movie has a happy ending, but this movie is more than a happy ending but more of what the whole story gives to the viewer.
The movie has some inconsistencies: the Trolls are supposed to be always happy but Branch is the most unhappy Troll around but then you learn about WHY he’s grey, the Bergens are supposed to ONLY feel euphoric AFTER eating a Troll but on Trollstice young King Gristle is incredibly excited to eat his first ever Troll (which hints at the moral of the story that happiness is inside everyone and you don’t need to eat a Troll to be happy). Some of the scrapbooking was a little cheesy, but I like cheesy and I imagine kids will love the ooey-gooey cheesiness, too.
Trolls (the movie) really gets your emotions going and I found myself really empathizing with the characters, even the Bergens. It’s tugged at my heartstrings with complete nostalgia. I could even see the emotional investments of the young kids in the audience – one kid yelled out during the scene where one of the captured Trolls was eaten. This movie is a good movie to take the family. I wouldn’t put it in the realm of Shrek, as this movie was good enough for me to watch once, but I imagine your kids will want to watch it over and over again – or you could use it to distract the kids from making a total mess of your day. Ha! Either way, it’s a fun 92 mins that your kids will love. I wonder if they’ll bring back the original Troll dolls as their post-production merchandise??