|'As poorly-linked pop number after poorly-linked pop number flies onto the screen, the quality descends from tribute band to karaoke melange.'|
If the last on-screen mention of trolls you can remember was when Otto Jespersen bellowed his iconic declaration in 2010's Troll Hunter then you may be in for a shock. Whilst that film was grey, this film is... rainbow. Based on the disturbingly long-lived children's toys, Trolls tells the story of a plucky band of the titular miniature heroes as they battle against the borish Bergens and their taste for troll.
As a day-glow children's film based on a toy, Trolls was always going to have to go some to achieve a level of acclaim anywhere above the squeals of five year-olds. It tries, bless its purple, gold and green socks, but there's scant here to really help parents along. A couple of in-jokes and knowing nods aren't really enough these days to mark your film out as anything other than an 'also ran' in the quest for parental attention.
Abandoning us to an afternoon of general internal chuntering then, the film's approach to securing younger sign-off is to throw colour and sound at the screen with a regularity designed to combat even the shortest attention span. You wonder if it might have the opposite effect. As poorly-linked pop number after poorly-linked pop number flies onto the screen, the quality descends from tribute band to karaoke melange. Youngsters can still comprehend when not a whole lot is really happening and the veneer of musical numbers is transparent at its very worst moments.
The plot too, such that it is, increasingly heads towards some very familiar movements as Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) learns people can accept her just the way she is and Branch (Justin Timberlake) learns friends and joy can help him overcome past ills. Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is the stalwart anchor throughout and Kendrick does manage to create a strong central character kids will remember.
Whether there's anything else here to tickle the grey matter into action however is debatable. The villain (Christine Baranski) gets a couple of cackling moments but is largely forgettable and the whole thing lacks a sidekick (Cloud Guy (Walt Dohrn) is suggested as possible and then abandoned) to cut through some of the sugar-frosted brightness. There's a bit of a lack of self-awareness here and pairing such a commercial offering with highly commercial pop showtunes is often a little much for the stomach to take.
Trolls is available on UK DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 13th February 2017.