Hello, Spongey here.
Time for a special general review. It’s special because this week you get TWO for the price of one! Yep, two films I want/need to see come out this week so I have to see/review them both.
Sure, no problem. I don’t usually do this ,but for this movie, I shall. And by sheer coincidence, there was a convenient pre screening for one of the movies! So thus, we’ll start with the animated one.
Dreamworks gave us their “Serious’ movie with Kung Fu Panda 3, now time for the silly one. One that seemed quite odd. This is a sort of adaption of the Troll dolls. I say sort of because that’s what it was announced to be, but based on the ads, this looks like an “original” film that happens to have Toy-looking trolls.
The concept made people scratch their heads, and the trailers have not helped. The awful teaser was thankfully confirmed to be unrelated to the film but the actual ads didn’t look too great.
Also,they were EVERYWHERE. I saw the trailer in theaters a few times, and almost every YouTube video I watch has an ad for this. Seriously, they took a break from shoving Sing down our throats to give us this.
But hey, that doesn’t mean the movie is bad. So far, the reviews are actually decent, with about a 78 on RT, with a positive consensus! This could be another Secret Life of Pets situation, but I hope not.
For our creative team, they are mixed The director has Shrek 4…and Chiprecked. The writers have Kung Fu Panda…and The Squeakuel/Chipwrecked. Okay, the people from Chipwrecked is making me worried.
This could go either way. Will it be a fun time, or is Dreamworks just trolling us? Let’s find out.
This, is Trolls
At this point, you know Dreamworks will give us mostly appealing animation, and this at least fits the bill. As expected, it’s very colorful but it can have darker colors when it comes to the Bergen and their land.
The cutesy look does work for the film, giving us eye popping visuals and some creative looking locations. The character designs are also mostly good, looking a bit like the dolls while still looking good for a feature.
The character animation itself is pretty regular, but that’s fine as the focus is on the color. Also, there’s really only two major locations on the film, so by the end you may get bored of the same place, at least until the colorful climax.
So while the animation won’t blow you away, it is colorful, creative, and looks good for what they are going for. Overall, it is at least a pretty looking film for the most part.
The Trolls are small creatures who live in an almost perpetual state of happiness, singing, dancing and hugging all day long. But one day their enemy the Bergen steal some, leaving the upbeat Poppy and the Cynical Branch to rescue them.
Some films end up being more complicated then their basic summaries or what you see in the trailers. This is…not one of those films. Yeah, off the bat I can say the writing manages to be very basic despite throwing certain things to make it look more complex.
There’s a good set up with a flashback establishing the world and such, but they don’t quite take full advantage of certain things. The basic concept is that a happy person and a not happy person must go an a quest to save people.
It’s…been done, but some films like Storks can do something fun with it. This, mostly does not, at least in terms of the plot. The grumpy guy learns to be happy, he has a backstory to explain why he’s grumpy, and yada yada.
The story is predictable and doesn’t do much else…and when it does, it’s random. There are a few points where they randomly drop a plot element in and expect you to care, even though it’s too sudden.
The nd half becomes all about one of the Bergen going through a Cinderella Story and ir’s about as interesting as…A Cinderella Story. It takes up so much time but it’s so cliché and odd. It randomly happens too, with no real build up.
And there’s the rushed ending, which isn’t the worst but is still bad. It feels like ends right after the climax happens, that’s how rushed it is.
On the more positive side, nothing is truly horrible here. The message about being happy is Anvilcious as all hell, but in 2016 it’s a good lesson. There are some good concepts here,a nd in a way Branch’s backstory kind of works.
I like that that the Bergen are given a motivation, as they think eating trolls is the only thing that can make them happy. That’s rather clever, at least.
The main problem is that the writing is so…average. Nothing stands either way, and is at best, just kind of okay. Oh, and there’s quite a bit singing. Most of them are existing songs, and honestly, some of it works, some doesn’t.
My favorite song is one that Poppy has when she goes on her journey, since it sounds like something they made for the movie. The rest, are fine but some are pointless. It’s a better jukebox musical than Strange Magic, at least.
As for the humor, most of it works fine, it’s just not quite enough. That’s the thing, there’s enough cute or amusing moments to keep me from being mad, but certain elements prvent me from truly getting invested.
Plus, there’s a shit joke straight from Hop. Oddly, Tim Hill was slated to direct at one point.
Overall, the writing is pretty middle of the road. Has good ideas here and there, and isn’t terrible, but the story is mostly basic and generic,with the extra stuff feeling out of place or random.
They certainly tried in some areas, but didn’t try enough in others. I almost want to give it a pass, but it’s just too …generic for my tastes. Sorry.
Considering how the script is, you shouldn’t expect very complex characters, and only 4 matter. And of those four, none are more than they seem from the trailers and such. Although no one is horrible.
Starting with our leads, we have Poppy, voiced by Anna Kendrik. She’s the happy one who has never had to worry about anything and tries to stay optimistic while rescuing her pals. That’s about it. She’s kind of likable but there’s not much else to her in the end.
There’s hints and the obligatory “I can’t do this moment” is nice, but that’s it. She’s at least not too annoying compared to what I expected. Still, not quite anything.
Branch, voiced by Justin Timerlake, is fun with his attitude, but once again isn’t too much beyond that. His motivation scene is kind of forced but it almost kind of works. I can let him slide more but the writing on him doesn’t make more than just a typical grump. Plus, he turns out to be right to be worried about the bad guys, he’s just wrong to hide.
Then there is Prince Gristle Jr, voiced by Christoper Mintz Plasse. He’s the son of the Bergen King, who never got to eat a troll, making him extra grumpy 20 years later. His backstory makes him interesting, but like everyone else, he’s bland by the end.
Especially when it comes to his love interest, Bridgit, voiced by Zoey Deschannel. She’s a maid at his castle who has a crush on him, and the trolls help her ask him out in Disguise, and like I said, it;s Cinderella, only even more generic.
I guess this gives the trolls a Bergen friend, but this plot line is so dumb and this character is just dull.
There’s also the villain, a Bergen Chef who failed to get the trolls and was kicked out and is now looking for revenge. She’s evil because she’s evil, moving on.
The rest, are just there, even the Troll King voiced by Jeffery Tambor. I expect him to worry about his bald head, not do nothing. There’s a Cloud Guy used for a dumb gag, a rapper guy and more guys that exist for jokes and nothing more.
Overall, the characters aren’t bad, and have decent moments, but are overall just kind of weak, and only 4 really matter, and one is out of place. Like the rest of the movie, the cast is is just…there/
Trolls is …so okay it’s average. It has decent acting, colorful animation, and some good ideas, but it’s mostly just middle of the road with weak characters, a generic story, and random plot lines that drop from nowhere.
It’s far from bad, as it has it’s likable moments, and start off fine. It’s just…kind of there. For kids, it’s passable and worth a rental but for anyone above the age of 10, if that, will find it dull.
I almost want to like it because it can be cute and fun, but it’s just not enough. It provide entertainment for kids, but most others will find it passable at best. It’s like Secret life of Pets in that way, although I actually find this slightly better, if only because the ending feels more complete, as rushed as it is.
And both have better reviews than they deserve. I can see why critics enjoy these, but neither are THAT great, or are better than Storks. Seriously, that gets “meh”, this gets “good”?.. This is a passable film I suppose, but nothing more than that.
Once again, it’s a rental if you have kids, or are easily amused and can forgive some stuff, but most people can skip it unless they pay 5 bucks or less on it.
Overall, better than expected, but still a lesser Dreamworks entry.
OVERALL: C+/B-. Can’t decide, subject to change
Sorry this may not be my most in depth review, working on this a tad letter due to secret reasons so I just wanna finish it, even though I have more time. Next on the animation block is a Disney movie, so I think i’ll like it.
But for general reviews, I’ll see in two weeks for a Harry Potter prequel that will hopefully be good. Either way, I’ll get to finally talk about Harry at least.