Sunday, February 5, 2017
Video review: "Trolls"
First reaction to “Trolls”: If this movie is based on those creepy neon-haired dolls, why don’t they look like them? The bodies and hair are similar, but the faces are fuzzy rather than fleshy, and the eyes don’t resemble depthless pools of death. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
Second reaction: Boy, they sure didn’t try very hard to hold the interest of parents here, did they? It’s all boingy action, bright colors and solving-our-problems-through-singing.
Third reaction: Zzzzzzzz…
“Trolls” is a great fit for video, because you can set the kiddies up on the couch, press “play” and enjoy 92 minutes of bliss while you go into the next room and do something else. Certainly, you won’t want to stick around for the movie, an unambitious romp that’s barely a step up from cable TV animated shows.
Anna Kendrick voices Princess Poppy, the heroine of the Troll tribe, who live for singing, dancing and hugs. Their long-vanquished oppressors, the loathsome and toothsome Bergens, used to eat them to bring some small measure of joy into their dreary lives. But since Poppy’s father led a great escape 20 years earlier, it’s been one nonstop party with her as queen bee.
Their only real killjoy is Branch (Justin Timberlake), the resident mopey troll who refuses to sing and prepares for the return of the Bergens. Of course this comes to pass, as he reluctantly joins up with Poppy and her crew to save the day.
The journey into Bergentown introduces three other important characters: the young, inexperienced but not black-hearted King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse); Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), the drab scullery maid who’s secretly in love with the monarch; and Chef (Christine Baranski), the gender-bending villain who used to prepare the troll dishes, and will do anything for a return to the kitchen seat of power.
Poppy helps Bridget get her bling on to catch the king’s eye in exchange for assisting with their rescue mission. It doesn’t take imagination to guess that love will save the day, Branch will get his groove back and this all wraps up with a massive Troll/Bergen dance party.
My kids absolutely love this movie. I received a DVD copy in December for awards voting, and I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many times they’ve seen it since then. (If any social workers ask, it’s three at the most.)
However, I’ve gotten a lot of chores done during that time, so I would consider a copy of “Trolls” to be a very wise investment -- provided you don’t make the mistake of watching it yourself.
As you might guess, the bonus features are geared toward the wee ones, and are pretty plentiful. The DVD includes deleted scenes plus featurettes on the production design and animation, a tour of Troll Village and the process for creating Poppy’s treasured scrapbooks.
Upgrade to the Blu-ray and you add more featurettes, including a look at Branch’s bunker and a debate between Branch and Poppy on important topics of the day. The highlight is a Party Mode, an interactive feature that amps up the singing and dancing, and a “conTROLL” that queues on-screen fun moments.