Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trolls: a fun family movie with a great message

Trolls was produced by DreamWorks Animation and voiced by an all-star cast. The Trolls are small creatures who love hugging, dancing, and having a good time. They lived safely hidden from the Bergens for 20 years until their village is discovered. Some of the Trolls are captured and taken to Bergentown as a meal for the miserable Bergens, who believe their happiness comes from eating a Troll. The main character, Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick), the positive and upbeat princess of the Trolls, who sets off to rescue her friends. She is joined by Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake), a paranoid survivalist Troll. They meet Bridget (voiced by Zooey Deschanel), a kind hearted Bergen and scullery maid in King Gristle’s castle. They form a friendship which will change their lives forever. Poppy and the Trolls are able to teach the Bergens that true happiness comes from within.

I loved the message of the film is that happiness comes from within. It is not something you put inside your body as the Bergens thought. It is deep inside you. You only need to turn it on. It’s been engrained in our culture that you must search for happiness. It’s stated in the Declaration of Independence: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” However, happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a part of the journey. I think it’s a great message that we can find happiness in the here and now instead of in a future event or achievement. 

I also loved the music. There were a lot of covers of popular rock and folk songs. From True Colors (1986) to The Sounds of Silence (1964) to Clint Eastwood (2001), the cover songs are fun additions to the humor and action of the story. As well as do the two original songs Can’t Stop the Feeling (written by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback, performed by the cast) and Get Back Up Again (written by Beri Pasek and Justin Paul, performed by Anna Kendrick).

My one complaint is the gross humor that filmmakers seem to think must be in a children’s movie. One character, Guy Diamond (voiced by The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar) farts glitter. Another character, Cooper (voiced by Ron Funches) poops cupcakes when he’s scared. When I saw it for the first time, I thought seriously?!? Was that necessary? Even my daughter, who loves Poppy and the movie, says eww, gross!

I must admit when the movie was first released in theaters, I resisted taking my daughter to see it because I wasn’t really sure it was going to be appropriate. I didn’t read any of the reviews but I was certain that someone just took a toy and made another unnecessary movie. So we waited for the DVD. After the first viewing, myself, my daughter and my husband loved it. I decided to write a review for it and search online for what other viewers thought of Trolls. Many of the reviews I read either loved it or hated it. Those who hated it, I think, went into the movie determined to hate it. One reviewer says it promotes cannibalism. Cannibalism? Really? If it was cannibalism, it would be Troll eating Troll or Bergen eating Bergen. And by the way, no actual eating is in the movie, it’s just talked about. Other reviews didn’t like the cover songs. One reviewer that the use of The Sounds of Silence was inappropriate. However, when you see the movie, the song fits the scene.

While no movie is perfect and will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, I recommend Trolls. It is a fun adventure movie with great music and a great message. The music will have you dancing and singing along. As for the criticisms of the movie, while DreamWorks often doesn’t compare to Pixar, the studio still puts our great movies. How to Train Your Dragon movies, Despicable Me, and the first two Shrek movies. Trolls 2 was recently announced. It is set to release in 2020. If you are concerned about the appropriateness of the movie for children, I recommend viewing it for yourself first and then decide.