• Sun. Dec 10th, 2023


ByJames Hanton

Nov 2, 2016

When a creepy monster ruins the trolls’ ultimate club night, Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) drags her doom and gloom friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) to rescue their friends before they are eaten by the vicious Bergens. It’s a simple plot at its core, basking very much in the glory of The Lego Movie, which was also liberal with its narrative.

Unsurprisingly, every young child waltzing into the cinema to absorb the infectious happiness of the Trolls is unaware of their humble origins, lightening the mood on grey office desks everywhere.

The voice acting is cheerful, with the cast boasting Anna Kendrick, James Corden and Russell Brand to name just a few. The film’s most impressive attribute, however, is its use of colour. Combine that with a cheery soundtrack and it makes your world seem like rainbows and cupcakes, all captured with some fine cinematography which is careful to absorb all that it possibly can.

The problem is, that’s it. Everything is largely done for its two-dimensional visual appeal rather than adding to the story or being genuinely drawing a laugh. Example? There is a silver troll who defecates glitter (on command, I might add). Satisfying for younger viewers, but it contributes nothing.

Furthermore, what made The Lego Movie so fantastic is that it tapped into the very culture and ethos of the toy it was based on. It didn’t dare try to forget its origins. The same cannot be said of Trolls. The script depends so heavily on the cuteness and brightness of its characters that it completely ignores their history, which just leaves viewers feeling somewhat detached and disappointed. Children will leave the cinema no more aware of what Trolls actually were.

Trolls spends so much time being cute and cuddly that it forgets to be anything else – smart, meaningful and to be honest, funny. The cast give it their best shot but you cannot help but feel that behind the stunning visuals and fluffiness, there is nothing but a void where so much more could have been.


Image: Gage Skidmore; Flickr

By James Hanton

James is a former editor-in-chief having  been TV & Radio Editor before that, and has contributed over 100 articles to the newspaper. He won a Best Article Award in December 2016 for his feature about Universal Monsters in the film section, and also writes for Starburst Magazine UK and The National Student. James was part of The Student‘s review team for the 2017 & 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He can be reached at: jhantonwriter@gmail.com

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