Friday, November 18, 2016

Movie Review - Trolls (PG) - review by Stephen Signor

Run Time: 1:32

In DreamWorks Animation's first musical film since The Prince of Egypt (1998), Trolls marks the third collaboration of director Mike Mitchell and writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger after Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015).
The film opens with the trolls escape from Burgentown, home of the troll eating Burgens. Their quest takes them to a faraway place where they believe their safety is guaranteed, but not for long. Anna Kendrick, whom you may remember in the very recent The Accountant, lends her voice to Poppy, leader and happiest troll of them all. Unfortunately, Poppy also happens to be optimistic and quite naive. A decision by her to have a party leads them into a dangerous situation. 
Poppy’s complete opposite is Branch (Justin Timberlake), a cynical, bad-tempered stubborn and basically uncooperative troll with a pension for the dramatic. His character speaks volumes adding to this clever array of circumstances that develop. 

Speaking of volumes, the soundtrack for this film was spot on, using popular tunes from different decades to accentuate precarious and often hilarious situations these creatures find themselves in. Timberlake not only provides the voice, he is responsible for singing and writing a couple of the songs. 

Coincidentally, the music used in this movie and trailer is "Move Your Feet" by the group Junior Senior, whose members, Jesper Mortensen and Jeppe Laursen, also were born in the same part of Denmark, in Thisted and Aalborg respectively.

Sprinkled into this colorful mix of characters is Gwen Stefani, the disc spinning DJ Suki that keeps the party going and loud. Ignoring the warnings made by Branch that the Burgens will hear the celebration proves disastrous. The troll village is invaded forcing Branch and Poppy to leave the security of their home on a quest to rescue the rest of the trolls. The sequences that ensue are hilarious, charming and in sync. 

The use of the troll’s hair to transform characters in given situations is ingenious and reminded me of Fantasia, another innovative film. The bottom line is Trolls provides a level of entertainment that an audience of all ages can enjoy. I am thankful to the original Trolls doll creator Thomas Dam, of Gjøl, Northern Jutland, Denmark. Without his imagination and inspiration in 1958 this film would never had existed.

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