‘Trolls’ is Catchier Than it Has a Right to Be

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CHICAGO – “Trolls” isn’t the type of confection that I would normally subject myself to, but at least it didn’t make me want to stick knitting needles in my ears. That’s because “Trolls” aspires to be this season’s “Frozen,” a full blown animated musical jam packed with songs you can’t get out of your head as much as you might try.

In the movie’s world, Trolls live peacefully in safe exile after escaping from the clutches of a people called the Bergens. There’s plentiful singing, dancing, and hugs at regular intervals. And they’re led by Princess Poppy (voice by Anna Kendrick), who in addition to being on the verge of perpetually breaking into song, has an almost pathological positivity in the face of obstacles. Naturally she’s paired up with Branch (Justin Timberlake), the one Troll who’s as sour as she is sweet. And they must work together when one of Poppy’s over-the-top celebrations leads the Bergens to take the Trolls prisoner, once they discover their candy colored homeland.

Hug Time! Princess Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) in ‘Trolls’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

The color scheme might give your eye sockets a cavity, since everything in Troll-land is as brightly colored as a bag of Skittles. While the Bergens are almost aggressively ugly and sometimes seem like exiles from “The Boxtrolls.” And the Bergens believe the only way to achieve anything approaching happiness is by eating a Troll – so King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Platz) and the conniving Chef (Christine Baranski) conspire to cook up a Troll feast. There’s also a scullery maid (Zooey Deschanel), who’s been nursing an unrequited crush on the prince since childhood, and naturally positive Poppy can’t help but try to orchestrate happiness.

We’ve already been blanketed by Justin Timberlake’s inescapable song of the summer “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” but the film itself boasts a few other toe tappers, the best of which is Kendra’s anthem “Get Back Up Again” in which she exhibits a can do spirit while facing and being consumed by a variety of increasingly scary and trippy woodland creatures.

The Animated Cast of ‘Trolls,’ Breaking Into More Song and Dance
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

“Trolls” continues the Dreamworks Animation trend of being second tier Walt Disney Studios, but it comes with more energy than it has any right to, certainly more than a movie designed to sell annoying Don-King-haired dolls. As I said it’s not something I would normally subject myself to, and It isn’t necessarily something I would want to see again. But my 4 year-old twins seemed to like it, and it’s pitched right into their wheelhouse. Sometimes you just “Can’t Stop The Feeling” – so sit back and enjoy the ride.

“Trolls” opens everywhere on November 4th, in 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for theaters and show times of 3D screenings. Featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden and Jeffrey Tambor. Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, from a story by Erica Rivinoja. Directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn. Rated “PG

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2016 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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