Film review: Trolls

An animated musical for children with surprising psychedelic touches


A still from ‘Trolls’
A still from ‘Trolls’

Trolls are small, cute, multi-coloured creatures that have both human and animal forms. The human ones have hair that stands permanently over their heads, like the weirdly disturbing hairstyle of Eraserhead’s Henry. How you respond to Trolls might hinge on your tolerance level for candy-coloured positivity on screen. One of the characters actually poops something that could pass as cupcakes. But in an age where the darkening of animation movies is the new normal, this may not be such a bad thing.

The plot is simple. The trolls are historically hunted by larger, ogre-like beings called Bergens, who are conditioned to believe that the only source of happiness is eating a troll. But a heroic act by King Peppy ensures two decades of peace in the Kingdom, far away from the reach of the Bergens. Until one fateful night, when they party so loudly that the noise catches the attention of the Bergen’s banished chef. A large number of trolls are captured, but the film’s super-happy protagonist Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), daughter of Peppy, escapes. The film introduces her opposite number—a pessimist named Branch (Justin Timberlake). The two find it difficult to get along at first , but they eventually strike an unlikely partnership and embark on a rescue mission to the land of the Bergens.

The film becomes more visually vibrant as it enters the Bergens’ territory, which has a medieval grotesque look. The nicely textured artwork has a pleasing quality and the bright colours have a tinge of psychedelia to them. There is a buoyancy to the proceedings, even though they are utterly predictable. It helps that the film is a musical; it has actor-singers as a part of its cast and at many points, the songs help the scenes breeze through. The film’s primary target audience is, of course, children, but accompanying adults should have a good time too.

Trolls releases in theatres on Friday.

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