FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Trolls,” which stars Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air), Justin Timberlake (In Time, Inside Llewyn Davis), Zooey Deschanel ([500] Days of Summer, New Girl [TV series]), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, How to Train Your Dragon), Christine Baranski (How the Grinch Stole Christmas [2000], Into the Woods), Russell Brand (Hop, Arthur), Gwen Stefani (The Aviator, Zoolander), James Corden (Begin Again, Into the Woods), Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover, Transparent [TV series]), and Ron Funches (Get Hard, Undateable [TV series]). It is directed by Walt Dohrn (SpongeBob Squarepants [TV series], Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular [Short]) and Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Sky High), and is written by Jonathan Aibel (Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens), Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda 2, Monster Trucks), and Erica Rivinoja (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Extreme Movie). When her friends are taken by a Bergen, Poppy (Kendrick), a troll, sets out on a journey to get them back, along with the pessimistic Branch (Timberlake), before they are eaten.

Oh no, not “Trolls.” I want you all to know that when the trailer dropped for this film, I was already planning how I would not see it. Making a movie based on a toy (let alone ones that look creepy and are from pre-2000’s) is not a good sign. Hardly does it ever work in cinema, yet the film industry continues to push for it. After viewing this, I was glad to find that the plot pushes away from its toy upbringing, however this does not make it a great release. What you saw in the trailer is essentially the vibe you get from the film itself, though in a more subdued form. Marketing for this feature was also quite terrible, and lowered my expectations to the floor. So, yes, this movie exceeded my expectations after watching it (go figure). The voice acting was solid, the animation was really good, and the story aroused a few chuckles from me. It’s what you’d hope to receive from a kid’s movie not meant to appease adults. Typically, Dreamworks would fight to make a film for all audiences to enjoy and get challenged by, however this one is an exhausted shell of a release. It doesn’t try to push a theme that is original or creative, nor does it craft consistent enjoyment. What this film serves as is an almost mindless piece of entertainment meant to keep kids at bay for an hour and a half. That’s not to say that it is terrible. I found myself content with what I was watching, and even took fun in a handful of scenes. The concept itself is rather original, though the execution could’ve been worked on extensively. While this story could’ve shot for a darker, comedic tone, it instead chose flashy lights and covers of songs we’ve heard too many times on the radio. It wasn’t obnoxious, though I didn’t need it, considering how most television shows and movies for kids opt for this style. The adventure our main heroes go on was short-lived and filled with character development that was both predictable and hardly given thought to, besides the background of Branch. Everything that happened simply happened, and by the time this reached its conclusion, I walked away with nothing besides the thought that it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. Is that a victory on the movie’s end? In a sense, it is. In its entirety, this release is okay; it wades wistfully in its own bland storytelling, and whether or not you take immense fun from that is what ultimately decides it’s fate in your heart. It doesn’t fight for affection from the viewer, and I was upset to see that (even though I expected the worst from this movie). Like I stated before, there are good aspects to this film. I thought all of the voice acting was really good and embodied the characters they portrayed. Secondly, the animation, while a given in any animated movie nowadays, was great and has improved on Dreamworks end since their previous release of “Kung Fu Panda 3.” It was a nice film to look at, even though the character models were ugly at times. Finally, I did laugh at a few spots, which was much needed in order for this feature to even get the okay grading it received. Dreamworks is known for their strange, yet brilliant comedy in the form of visuals, and even though this was nowhere near as funny as their other pictures, it still had a few comedic moments. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but children, and even then I would point them out to better films that actually pick at their minds or entertain them on a higher scale. “Trolls” is a colorful, noisy release that simply exists, and had so much potential to be something better. FINAL SCORE: 70%= Burnt Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

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