The music is the real star of DreamWorks Animation’s latest, Trolls, which not only features lots of happy (very happy) characters based on those famous Troll dolls with the Don King-like hairstyles, but also the script and attitudes are quirky enough to keep parents from tearing their hair out when they are forced to take the kids.
As I say in my video review above, this is more than just a 90-minute product placement piece to sell more dolls, which first came to fame about a half century ago. It also should help move sales of the toe-tapping soundtrack compiled by none other than Justin Timberlake, who also co-stars as Branch, the ever-careful and inhibited Troll who finds himself trying to second guess the ever-happy and enthusiastic Poppy (Anna Kendrick) as they try to maintain their colorful lifestyle while being threatened by the dour and rather dark Bergens. There is a plot here: The Trolls must hide out in the forest or risk being taken by forces that would depress these naturally upbeat creatures. King Gristle (John Cleese) and his loopy son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) preside over those miserable Bergens, but it is Chef (Christine Baranski) who manages to track down and Troll-nap several of Poppy and Branch’s friends and put them back in the Bergens’ clutches. That’s when they take action and things get dicey.
But the bottom line of this enterprise is to be irresistibly entertaining from first minute to last, and that it accomplishes through a series of impressively choreographed musical numbers that are a mix of established hits like Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and “True Colors” as well as other well-known tunes, plus the terrific original “Can’t Stop The Feeling” that has already taken over the airwaves — you can just see it being performed by Timberlake on the Oscars. In this regard Trolls most resembles the Oscar-winning Happy Feet, with a dash of Shrek and a touch of Smurfs, three unmistakable influences. The latter is a real comparison, but these adorable and individual Trolls are far more engaging in my book.
Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn are co-directors. Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger wrote the tolerable script. Gina Shay produced. 20th Century Fox takes this out today, and kids will flock for sure. It is the perfect holiday treat — until the next one comes along, and that would be Disney’s Moana around Thanksgiving.
Do you plan to see Trolls? Let us know what you think.