Trolls (2016) Film Review and Rating: A Musical that Doubles as a Lesson in Happiness

11 min read

Trolls Review: Animated films hit it big with viewers worldwide for their out-of-the-box thinking and easy presentation, despite some of the complex themes they handle. Trolls is no different: the main theme of the film, as lead cast member Anna Kendrick puts it, is happiness. That may sound mundane to many, but representation matters, especially pertaining to such tried and tested material. That is not to say that Trolls does not feel a little lacking in depth anywhere. But what the makers have tried to achieve with the charming, colourful little creatures can be appreciated without being overly scrutinising. Read on for more.

Trolls (2016) Cast and Crew

The Trolls

  • Anna Kendrick lends her voice to Poppy, the Troll Princess
  • Justin Timberlake stars as Branch, a grey-hued Troll who is forever wary
  • Russell Brand as Creek
  • Gwen Stefani as DJ Suki, so that the Trolls never run out of music
  • Kunal Nayyar as Guy Diamond
  • Jeffrey Tambor as King Peppy
  • GloZell Green as Grandma Rosiepuff
  • Ron Funchess as Cooper
  • James Corden as Biggie

The Bergens

  • John Cleese voices King Gristle Sr, the Bergen ruler
  • Christine Baranski as Chef, the mean and fearsome Bergen
  • Zooey Deschanel as Bridget
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Prince Gristle Jr

Besides the main cast, Iris Dohrn stars as Baby Poppy and Liam Henry voices a young Branch. Walt Dohrn lends his voice to a number of characters, including Cloud Guy, Mr Dinkles, and a Bergen among many others.

Moving on to the creators of Trolls,

  • Direction- Mike Mitchell,
  • Screenplay- Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger,
  • Story- Erica Rivinoja,
  • Music- Christophe Beck,
  • Cinematography- Yong Duk Jhun,
  • Editing- Nick Fletcher, Julie Rogers,
  • Production- Dreamworks Animation,
  • Distribution- 20th Century Fox,

Trolls Film Plot/ Storyline

Trolls tells the story of a society of creatures, who know the way through life as happiness, which they express through song and dance and loud cheers. But their merrymaking attracts the attention of a set of enemies called the Bergens. The Bergens are creatures who are the exact opposite of the Trolls, they can never feel happiness. This is what makes them hunt down Trolls, who, they realise, are the only things that can provide them with a sense of momentary happiness when eaten. The Trolls were ambushed once during the times of King Peppy, who had managed to lead them out and escape from being served at the Bergens’ festivities.

Poppy (Anna Kendrick), King Peppy’s daughter, is as happy and gleeful as a Troll can be. She breaks into songs and lively jigs every now and then and throws parties for all the Trolls. Branch (Justin Timberlake), a perpetually wary Troll, warns them time and again against their loud festivities, but his caution falls on deaf ears. Branch’s fears, however, do come true as Bergens once again find a way into their peaceful territory and carry them off to be eaten. Poppy escapes, and she must find a way to venture into the Bergens’ territory and save her people. The remaining few Trolls lack the courage to go along with her, so Poppy tries to convince Branch to accompany her on the mission. The latter agrees reluctantly. The rest of the film focuses on the journey that the duo partakes in, which throws a fair amount of surprises their way.

Trolls Film Review

At its surface, Trolls is a gleeful musical experience, something that can be fathomed after a quick look at the cast. But it is also a tale about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and finally, about learning to strike a balance between being guarded and opening up. Like most other animated films, Trolls too, has at its heart a journey to see its characters through difficult times and learn valuable lessons in the process. The music featured is upbeat, and the accompanying visual presentation is grandiose if at times a little excess. Despite everything, it conveys the fact that love is the surest way to happiness.

The characters in Trolls are all fun to watch. Poppy’s charm is addictive, and Branch’s grimness is relatable. All the other Trolls do their part, and despite appearances, betrayal can plague them too. But they certainly have the chops to work things out. The Bergens are worthy of all the hatred that you can muster, but they are given a humanising touch too.

At the end of it all, Trolls is a great film to take your kids to, and the creators (who are also behind the Shrek films) have made sure you can have a laugh or two while you’re at it.

The Good: The exuberant presentation is lovely during most times, and the voice actors have done a great job to bring out the inner nuances of the characters. And of course, the music is a big plus.

The Bad: It’s hard to pinpoint at what Trolls really lacks. Perhaps it feels a little annoying at times due to some of the overdone humour scenes. Some critics point out that it is a tad too sugary, and we couldn’t agree more.

Trolls Film Verdict

It is safe to say that Trolls is an enjoyable film. The music is infectious and features numbers from Ariana Grande, Zooey Deschanel, and Gwen Stefani, besides Kendrick and Timberlake. The story is far from being slow, but the visuals do feel a little busy. But the film has put an overused formula to good use, and it promises to be a relaxing watch with your kids on a weekend.

Catch a show and let us know your opinions about Trolls in the comments below.

Trolls Film Rating
Audience Response  
Critics’ Response  
A good watch for the kids.

72 %


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