This is one of those tiny little animated films that you ignore to your detriment.
Though it has been out for several weeks, I risk what is left of my personal reputation when I went to see Trolls by myself when my granddaughter proved unavailable. I sat in the theater on a Sunday afternoon with two families, and I could only applaud them for their decision to have their children sit as far from me as possible.
On the other hand, I’m glad I put my dwindling reputation on the line, as Trolls proved to be a spirited adventure for adults as well as kids. Ironically, the New York Times ran a featured story over last weekend dealing with the possible rebirth of musicals given the acclaim for the upcoming Lala Land, but they made a tragic mistake ignoring the significance of this inspiring animated film by Director Mike Mitchel.
A product of DreamWorks, the film tells the tale of the effervescent Troll community, all of whom are afflicted with the admirable quality of happiness. They sing and dance at every opportunity, and I couldn’t help but wonder if Hailee Steinfeld’s Nadine from The Edge of Seventeen would have benefited from their supervision.
On the other hand, the Troll community had one major problem, namely that the neighboring colony occupied by the Bergens could only escape their morose lifestyle by devouring trolls. Something’s gotta give, and the movie centers on an encounter of the two diverse cultures when the Bergens kidnap a group of trolls to be consumed at a holiday festival.
The ensuing adventure is both as fun as it is surprisingly dramatic, and the fate of the fun-loving trolls is clearly left in doubt. While you expect a happy ending given the fact that this is a DreamWorks production, the conclusion has a bit of a nasty edge that you will likely enjoy.
However, the strength of Trolls comes from its incredibly uplifting music. Anna Kendrick, here voicing Poppy, the daughter of the Troll king, and Branch (Justin Timberlake), the only troll who finds strength from being a sourpuss, join a spectacular back-up group that includes Gwen Stefani and Zoe Deschanel in some rousing songs. You will find yourself smiling while resisting the urge to dance in the aisle.