After a forest tribe of cotton-candy-colored, shock-headed trolls discover that they’re the new favorite gourmet treat for King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the unlikely duo of bubbly Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and worrywart Branch (Justin Timberlake) must rescue their friends from the royals’ chef (Christine Baranski).
The “Troll” thing was a little ahead of my time so I did not have that to draw upon for this new animated film but rather some very colorful animation along with an impressive voice cast featuring the likes of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. In terms of its relation to animated films as a whole, this one comes off as rather generic with your standard run-of-the-mill predictable story and characters . What sets this one apart (or at least what it hopes will set it apart) is its animation as well as its many musical numbers.
The film does not rely on past troll stories and has its own original story. Trolls are insanely optimistic creatures who love to sing, dance, and hug. Their main adversaries were the pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach. Thinking that they were finally safe from the Bergens, they became complacent to the point that they had a party which alerted the Bergens and the royal chef (Baranski) to King Gristle (Mintz-Plasse). This led to some of their fellow trolls getting captured.
Wanting to follow in the footsteps of her father who saved the trolls from the Bergens 20 years earlier, King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor), Poppy (Kendrick) takes it upon herself to save the trolls. Poppy, the personification of trolls, has no grasp on the real world according to Branch (Timberlake), a polar opposite of the other trolls. Seeing that she would not stand a chance on her own, he begrudgingly decides to go with her.
The pairing opposites in film is nothing new and this instance does not stray from the formula but seeing the contrast in personalities was interesting to watch. The clashing of these personalities created some fun exchanges between the two. This did not end there as this relationship was the personification of his disdain for trolls. Of course, over time Branch begins to open up to Poppy and they grew closer to one another as he learned that being a troll isn’t so bad after all.
The journey was pretty standard fare with the pair facing the usual hurdles along the way. In order to break things up, the film follows the Bergens through King Gristle. He has never had the chance for real happiness since he has never eaten a troll. This all changes when the banished royal chef tried to redeem herself by bringing him trolls. But maybe he doesn’t need to eat a troll to be happy as he had to also contend with a scullery maid named Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) who had the biggest crush on him.
Again, there was nothing new here throughout but there’s a certain charm and energy about this film that kind of makes up for the film’s generic nature. The colorful animation, the silly characters, and the many musical numbers make this more memorable than not. The animation was very bright and colorful. Characters and locations were depicted with a excellent degree of detail. Kids will love the silly characters while some adults may be turned off as the film’s humor is targeted more towards children. The musical numbers were entertaining with songs that will stay with you long after the film ends.
Such as this gem:
The voice acting was great with Kendrick and Timberlake standing out. A good judge of voice acting is if one can’t imagine anyone else voicing a particular character and that was the case here with Kendrick and Poppy. She was great and her performance perfectly encapsulated Poppy’s energy and larger-than-life personality. Timberlake was captivating as Branch and his chemistry with Poppy made them fun to watch. While the focus was on Poppy and Branch, other characters such as Biggie (James Corden), Creek (Russell Brand), and Cooper (Ron Funches) had their moments. All the acting managed to portray all the different personalities without being overbearing.
Overall, this was a standard kids film with beautiful animation, great voice acting, and boatloads of charm which set it apart from the rest.