This fact about Trolls was told to me by a five-year-old
As a parent I often find myself in a pop culture tornado that is all about the thing of the moment. My son is interested in having some experience simply because his friends are. Often, he comes home and tells me all about a book, show, toy, or movie in such detail that I imagine he has already seen it, read it, or played with it. When I ask him when this happened his answer is often, “So and so told me about it.”, or “We read it in preschool”, or “You don’t know about it? Everybody knows about it”. Such was the case with the movie Trolls. Everybody knew about it and everyone had seen it..except my son. Sorry Max for depriving you of this cultural milestone for so long.
I have actually been aware of Trolls for some time and knew it would be finding its way into our life long. Even before my son told me plot points beat for beat, complete with character names and personal issues they had with each other. (Keep in mind this was before he had actually seen the movie). I knew this the way every parent knows when their kids are a certain age, movies in the main stream that feature songs, creatures, slogans and possibly endorsements from fast food chains will always find their way into the home. So it was not shocking to me to know how badly Max wanted to see it. All of his best friends had seen it, and he had built it up in his mind has possibly the greatest thing ever. So reader, I am happy to report that even with all that hype in his head, he seemed to enjoy it as much from beginning to end.
What is Trolls about?
The plot combines a couple of classic stories, Cyrano and Cinderella, as a means to string together musical numbers and chase scenes. The plot is based around the idea that 20 years earlier the monstrous Bergens were keeping Trolls prisoner so that, on a day they call Trollstice, they can all eat one of the colorful little creatures, creating what we can only assume is a chemical reaction that results in happiness, the one thing Bergens cannot feel. After the Trolls escape they manage to stay hidden in the forest, singing songs and putting on Katie Perry quality concerts, until one day a Bergen finally discovers their hiding place. Chasing, pop songs, danger and hilarity ensue. The movie is one of those that takes modern songs from various eras and make them part of the world so that the characters can sing, dance, and generally do exactly what Trolls do, make people happy, and like the Bergens, most people will eat it up.
The voices, and boy are there voices, are great. Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Jeffrey Tambor, Zooey Deschanel, and more make up a group of known quantities in the actor/singer world. The songs are fun renditions of what we have heard before, the jokes are of a quality we have come to expect created to entertain children and adults, and there is hardly a moment when there isn’t something shiny on screen to keep your attention from wandering. Seriously, there were moments when the movie turns into a music video and the screen splits into fours with someone happening in each box. I’m not sure if that last thing is good or not.
Should you see Trolls?
So the movie is based around musical number and chase scenes. That is not necessarily a bad thing as my son and I are fond of both but what I kept asking myself throughout this entertaining but of fluff is “What is Trolls?” I noticed in the credits that our friend JT (That’s Justin Timberlake to the uninitiated) was the Executive Music Producer. I’m not sure what that job entails but it felt as though someone put JT in charge of the music, he read the script, and decided on some songs that would translate well to the movie, he would like to sing, and would sell a soundtrack and that’s how the movie got made. The result is a movie that feels more like a music video than a movie at times; it tells a small story at breakneck speed. In general, I’m tired of films like this. The kind of movie that works so hard for jokes and moments that are designed to make you tear up. I’ve seen enough at this point. There are of course worse things than this but I found myself drifting away from movie more than once because I felt like I had seen it all before in better movies. Are there things that I would rather my son be watching if he is staring at a TV? Yes. Are there things that are worse? For sure. The message of the movie is great, as is always is in movies like this. The content? I think my son’s reaction was everything. A five-year-old will love it like it is the best movie in the world. A parent? Maybe not so much. In closing I will say this, after every movie we watch with Max he insists on dancing during the credits. Most movies for kids his age are built for this, this one was custom made, at the end of Trolls, you almost have to dance.
Also, don’t worry, they’re making a sequel.