Trolls (2016)

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Rock and Troll

Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani

At first glance, the Troll dolls are an odd selection for Dreamworks to base a film around. But then, after 2014's The Lego Movie proved, a good script is all it takes to make a great film out of a seemingly uncinematic product. Has that worked out for this venture? Hmm, for the most part.

The trolls are a happy bunch, who hug every hour and regularly sing and dance. They also live in fear of Bergens, bigger creature who wish to eat the trolls, in order for them to experience happiness. During a party, a number of the trolls are kidnapped, to be served for a feast. It's up to their leader, Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), and her friend Branch (Justin Timberlake), to rescue them.

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It's clear what the pictures biggest strength is, and that's the music. Every song selected is brought to life very well, proving toe-tappingly infectious. A cover of the Gorillaz hit, Clint Eastwood, proves an unexpected highlight, while an earlier song, where our heroine sings how she can overcome anything while constantly failing, is wonderful to witness unfold. It helps that it's brought alive due to the terrific animation (while scrapbook interludes prove very charming).

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake provide terrific voice work as the lead characters, the upbeat Princess Poppy and the morose Branch. The rest of the voice cast, containing James Corden, Gwen Stefani and Russell Brand, are merely here to add big names to the cast. None of the side characters on the Trolls side are well defined, with their individual importance going as far as being plot devices, irritants and, I kid you not, farting glitter. Outside of a romance subplot, the Bergens are barely explored, which is a shame, as one's curious to see more about their daily lives without joy.

After the 92 minute runtime, Trolls hasn't really justified its existence in the same way The Lego Movie did without effort. It's certainly a cute film with a nice message and decent songs, but there's not really more to it than that.