When the winter weather starts to set in, my spirits get low. I can’t help it. It’s dark when I leave the house in the morning, it’s dark when I come home and I spend most of the day indoors, occasionally looking out a window at either rainfall or a grey sky. So while Hollywood chooses this time of year to start shelling their award hopefuls, many of them emotionally draining dramas, the search for a palette cleanser seems more of a necessity than a choice and this year, DreamWorks Animation is delivering the goods.
Let’s be clear: Trolls is not particularly deep or nuanced. It’s an animated musical about Princess Poppy, the cheerful leader of the incessantly happy trolls, who leads a rescue mission to save her friends from the Bergens, a race of miserable creatures who believe happiness can only be achieved by eating trolls. Along the way Poppy falls in love and captures the heart of Branch (the grumpiest of the trolls), saves her friends and teaches the Bergens that happiness comes from within – not from eating her friends.
Zootopia or The Red Turtle this is not but there’s something to be said for a movie that’s just fun to watch and Trolls certainly is that. It’s light, it’s funny, it’s colourful, the music is catchy and more than that – it gorgeous. The entire thing looks like it’s made of felt with sequences that look and feel more like stop-motion than CG. This level of innovation and attention to detail is something more associated with Pixar or Disney but DreamWorks is clearly stepping up its game.
The story itself is straight forward; Trolls wears its emotions on its virtual sleeve but it does so with great gusto. The music – a mix of 60s and 80s hits reworked by executive music producer Justin Timberlake and performed by a cast of top notch vocalists – feels like its playing more to the parents than the kids (their rendition of “True Colors” is particularly great) but they also happen to work really well within the story.
I love that Trolls looks like a unicorn puked rainbows all over it. It’s bright and colourful and the mix of visuals, music and feel-good story are the perfect antidote to the greyness outside. I left tapping my foot, humming “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and generally just feeling good and ready to tackle whatever the day threw at me and for that alone, Trolls is worth seeing. The fact the kids in your life will love it too is a bonus, one DreamWorks is undoubtedly counting on to bolster merchandise sales over the holiday season. They’ve definitely got my money – I can’t wait to put Poppy on my desk.
Trolls opens November 4.