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Trolls movie review: obnoxiously happy fare with a side of psychedelia and pop

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:45 IST

While watching the movie, the one thought that persisted was "what did someone put in the drinking water at DreamWorks Animation?"

That's because even though this may be the age of online trolls, but the singing and dancing trolls you'll see here are nothing like the ones you'll find on Twitter.

In fact, everything just pops in Trolls - it's clear from the onset that directors Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn wanted to make an acid trip movie for the kids with a tonne of pop music paired with colourful imagery.

Inspired by the high-haired Troll Dolls we all owned as children, this movie is certifiably insane in many ways: with trolls that poop cupcakes and glitter, spiders with glittery eyes, frog that caw like ravens and just all out weird flora and fauna.

File photo

More than anything, the movie is mainly about the one goal most of us aim for: happiness.

But how happy is happy, how much is too much?

The prologue, done in a cut-out scrapbook style, tells us that Trolls are "the happiest creatures the world had ever known". They live out in the woods and mostly just sing, dance and stay happy.

The only thing they fear - and this add an edge to the movie, as cannibalism always ought to, are the Bergens (who look like cotton-like versions of Shrek's tribe of ogres), a tribe of dour ogres who believe the only way to achieve momentary happens is by eating trolls. Which they do ritually once a year on a day they call Trollstice.

After an attack, the trolls escape and relocate and continue their celebratory ways. This includes hourly group hugs and bright, psychedelic raves. Pink-haired princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is among the happiest of the bunch, much to the chagrin of slightly dour troll Branch (Justin Timberlake), who's constantly on edge about how the loud partying sounds would alert the Bergens.

Sure enough, an exiled Bergen (Christine Baranski) happens upon their hideout during one of these nutty raves. She kidnaps some Trolls and then makes for home with an evil plan to take over the town.

Feeling terrible, Poppy, along with pessimistic Branch, sneak into Bergen Town to rescue their friends.

It is formulaic, with a seemingly endless series of dance numbers to popular tunes set to eye-popping visuals. The movie's message is an all-important one, be happy. But like I asked before: how happy is too happy? Last year's Inside Out will remembered for many years to come primarily because of the reality of its message - that it's okay to be sad sometimes.

The movie also partially deals with metamorphosis - particularly via the adorably geeky romance between Prince Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his scullery maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel).

What really did seem like an utter waste of talent was to not utilise Timberlake to sing more considering the fact that he is a pop superstar. But when he does sing near the end - Cyndi Lauper's True Colors - it's bound to have you squeeze out a tear at least (if you have heart).

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

First published: 4 November 2016, 10:43 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.