Despite its undeniable charm and colourful animation, Trolls is a serviceable yet forgettable film. Its soundtrack, much like the wisps of neon hair coming from the trolls, is bright and vibrant but doesn’t quite utilize the vocal talents of Justin Timberlake as much as it maybe should. Its story is the biggest drawback here and despite some good humour, it simply ranks as’ pretty good’ in this bloated genre.
The main draw here is of course the nostalgia from the re-imagining of the 80s toy that bears the same name. The story almost feels like an afterthought with the animation and music coming first. As we enter the world of Trolls, we’re introduced to Poppy (voiced by Anna Hendrick), the happiest Troll who ever lived. When the Bergens invade Troll Village and steal the Trolls, its up to Poppy and Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake), a pessimistic grey troll with slick, black hair, to find their friends and bring them back.
The story is the biggest downfall for ‘Trolls’ and its only set up to showcase the animation and music which are both really well done. The Trolls looks great, the village is an explosion of colour that’s both pleasing to the eye and brilliantly rendered and there’s a good use of shadow and lighting throughout. I was really impressed with the visuals but its simply eye-candy without a story to complement it.
Parallel to this is the soundtrack which is equally as appealing. I mentioned before that Timberlake, despite being one of the main characters here, is barely featured on the musical score and to me this feels like a missed opportunity. Why wouldn’t you utilise such a talent? Despite that, there’s some feel-good pop hints infused with a nod to some of the older vocal talents and for the most part it works well. The stand-out, aside from the catchy ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ is of course ‘True Colours’ with an excellent use of colour to complement the music. For me, this was the stand out moment of the film.
Peppered with humour throughout from the talents of Russell Brand and James Corden, ‘Trolls’ does have some good humour as well and despite its by-the-numbers story, its also important to note who the target market is for this film. Its a film intended for kids and despite its forgettable premise and so/so story elements, overall this is a film tailored to bring a new generation of kids into the Trolls franchise and I think for the most part it succeeds.
With a sequel already penned for 2020, this isn’t the last time we’ll see these colourful creatures and kids will certainly be entertained by this colourful nostalgia blast from the 80s. If you go into this one expecting a smartly written animation with deep characters, ‘Trolls’ is not that sort of film. Perhaps with a better story it could have risen to being a great animation but as it stands, ‘Trolls’ is simply pretty good and it seems content with this.