Director: Mike Mitchell
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden and Gwen Stefani
Running Time: 90 mins
Following the mediocre performance of KUNG FU PANDA 3, HOME and PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR (especially when you compare it to the box office success of Disney’s FROZEN or Universal’s DESPICABLE ME), DreamWorks Animation take a big-screen gamble on the candy coloured, crazy hair toy sensation of the 1960s in their latest family-friendly animated comedy.
TROLLS follows the story of two shock-headed trolls, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake), who embark on a dangerous mission to save their friends after they’re kidnapped by the dreaded troll-eating Bergens. Their adventure takes them outside the boundaries of their kingdom and far beyond the only world they’ve ever known, putting them face-to-face with the evil and scheming Bergen Chef (Christine Baranski) who is determined to serve up the trolls for lunch.
Colourful, likeable and packed full of music, TROLLS is a fairytale explosion of glitter, rainbow colours and trippy beats. While the script is nowhere as witty or as humorous as SHREK, there are enough giggle-inducing gags to keep you entertained and the plot moves at a steady pace to keep the action flowing.
TROLLS charms lies in the lush animation with the production breaking some intriguing visual ground. Every character and object in the film has a fabric-like quality and the DreamWorks team make good use of 3D without it overpowering the action.
An inspired decision to bring Justin Timberlake in as the executive music producer also works out well, with the disco soundtrack bringing a throb of energy to the film. In addition to original music from Timberlake, there are mash-ups of songs from other popular artists.
The film boasts an impressive voice-over cast including Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden and Gwen Stefani. Yet while Kendrick and Timberlake’s youthful voices lend themselves nicely to animation, most of the characters are undeveloped and forgettable. The film spends too much time and energy to be cute, colourful and irrepressible than developing characters or plot in a unique or meaningful way.
That said, TROLLS is an entertaining and enjoyable watch and is sure to appeal to younger viewers. It isn’t going to set the world alight but you’re sure to leave the cinema with a smile on your face.
TROLLS makes its world premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival on 8 October and is released in UK cinemas on 21 October 2016.
This review was originally written for Frankly My Dear UK