DreamWorks Official Description:
“The colorful, richly textured Troll Village is full of optimistic Trolls, who are always ready to sing, dance and party. When the comically pessimistic Bergens invade, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on an epic journey to rescue her friends. Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.”
Remember the Good Luck Troll toys that were popular in the 1960s? The creators at DreamWorks did, and they decided to make a movie based on a modern version of those trolls. Featuring the vocal talents of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor, Gwen Stefani, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, and John Cleese, the movie runs 93 minutes. Trolls was directed by Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell.
The movie opens with backstory. Princess Poppy (Kendrick) narrates the history of the Trolls and their enemies, the Bergens. Bergens (who, oddly enough, kind of look like green and purple versions of the trolls in the Harry Potter series) believe that they can only be truly happy in life if they eat a troll. Therefore, Bergens celebrate the annual “Trollstice” – the one day of the year when everyone gets to eat a troll.
Trollstice meals are prepared by Chef (Baranski), a power-hungry Bergen who has influence over the king and young prince. She loses her job and is banished from the Bergen’s village after a Trollstice disaster in which the Trolls escape before Prince Gristle can ever taste one.
Twenty years later, Princess Poppy and her fellow trolls are happy and have routine dance parties. Small devices on their wrists glow to inform them when it is “hug time.” Their hair – big, colorful, and bright – can be transformed to different shapes and colors depending on their needs. You almost expect everyone to start singing “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, but they instead sing “Celebration” and other common dance party songs. Everyone in the Troll’s small village is happy.
Well . . . almost everyone. Branch (Timberlake) does not fit in with his fellow trolls. He is a washed-out gray hue, doesn’t sing, and certainly doesn’t hug. Unlike those around him, Branch is preparing for the inevitable day when his kind while again face the Bergens. He issues warnings that the Trolls should be more mindful of their surroundings and should not party quite as loudly as they do. His warnings are dismissed.
It turns out that Branch was right. After a dance party that ends with fireworks, the Trolls are ambushed by Chef. Seeing an opportunity to re-establish her influence over the Bergens, she kidnaps several Trolls and plans to present them to Prince Gristle (Mintz-Plasse), as he is about to become the king of the Bergens.
We learn that while the Trolls have been celebrating their freedom for years, Prince Gristle has grown up thinking that he can never be truly happy. Bridget (Deschanel) is his maid. She has loved him for years, but doesn’t think he would ever notice a girl like her. A lot of the movie (possibly too much) is spent on her Cinderella story.
Poppy, meanwhile, realizes that she should have listened to Branch sooner. She seeks his help to rescue her friends. The two set off on a journey filled with music, adventure, new friends, old enemies, and a fairytale romance.
The movie looks (so colorful!) great and sounds excellent, but the plot isn’t as original as it could be. It features a strong opening and unique characters, but after several of the Trolls are kidnapped, the rescue journey becomes a bit predictable. The movie tells fewer jokes at that point and becomes more of an action adventure. A lot of the film’s time is given to Bridget’s Cinderella story. While this side story is cute, it doesn’t add enough to the overall plot to justify the amount of time spent telling it. Trolls is still worth seeing at least once though, if only to hear the music and see each unique, colorful troll.
The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD release of Trolls comes with two discs. Disc 1 plays only the movie in 4K Ultra HD quality, while Disc 2 plays the movie in Blu-ray form and includes all the movie’s special features and extras. This release also comes with the code that allows viewers access to the Digital HD version.
On the main menu, short clips from the movie are played under part of the film’s instrumental score. Across the bottom of the screen, viewers are given some choices: ‘Play,’ ‘Set Up,’ and ‘Search.’ (If you are watching the Blu-ray disc, you will also have ‘Extras’ as an option.) ‘Set Up’ allows for audio adjustments and the addition of subtitles in languages including English, Spanish, and French. ‘Search’ gives viewers access to specific scenes in the movie and any bookmarks they may have previously placed.
Extras (found only on the Blu-ray disc):
• “Party Mode with Sing-along and Interactive Features” (accessed by selecting ‘Play’ on the main menu) –
- Sing-along displays subtitles during the musical numbers so that viewers can sing with the characters.
- Party Mode is introduced by the character Cooper (Funches). Viewers are asked to sing along with characters during the songs. When they see a pink flower appear on the bottom left corner of their screen, they should hug someone around them. They are instructed to hit other buttons on their remote when certain icons appear in the corner of the screen. Doing so will cause items like a glitter party and cupcakes to appear on screen.
• “Travel Through Troll Village” (4:43) – Cloud Guy (Dohrn) takes viewers on a tour of Troll Village and introduces us to some trolls not met in the movie.
• “The Potion for Stop Motion” (5:06) – The crew talks about the making of Poppy’s scrapbook-like fantasy world.
• “Creating Troll Magic” (5:21) – The crew discuss the challenges of making the 3D, textured Troll Village, as well as how technology influenced the movie’s overall look.
• “Inside the Bunker” (2:54) – Cloud Guy takes us through Branch’s doomsday bunker.
• “Troll 2 Troll” (4:46) – A series of short previews for the movie that see Poppy and Branch debate the “big questions” on Poppy’s mind, such as “Cat or Dog?” and “Chocolate or Vanilla?” much to Branch’s annoyance.
• Sneak Peak – See previews for The Boss Baby, Sing, Home & Spirit, Voltron, Kung Fu Panda 3, and Home.
• “The World of DreamWorks Animation” – an interactive feature that allows viewers to see “extras” about seven of DreamWorks other popular movies.
• Theatrical Trailer
• Deleted Scenes (7:24) – Before each of the three deleted scenes, the directors explain the reasons behind removing it from the final film. Viewers cannot individually select deleted scenes.
One of the main draws of the movie is its use of new and old songs. You may have heard Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” being played almost everywhere in the past few months. In addition to vocal acting, Timberlake serves as the movie’s executive music producer and does a nice job. The movie includes a strong variety of songs ranging from Timberlake’s new feel good dance number to older songs like “September,” “Celebration,” and “The Sound of Silence.” The theme song of the Bergens is a remixed version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and their village is introduced under Gorillaz’s “Clint Eastwood.” The soundtrack also features original music by Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick, and Ariana Grande.
The 4K HD disc features English Dolby Atmos and English Descriptive Audio 5.1, while the Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. Both discs also feature Spanish and French options as well as subtitles in all three languages.
The audio does a great job of bringing the movie’s soundtrack to life. Vocals and instruments are excellently mixed, and the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The clearest audio primarily comes in the form of dialogue and song; however, sound effects of movement, motion, and action can also be distinctly heard.
Both 4K HD and Blu-ray discs come in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Bottom line – this movie is colorful! There are bold, vibrant, eye-catching colors everywhere in the film. No two trolls look exactly alike and the 4K HD and Blu-ray editions enhance each troll’s unique look. One troll, for example, wears nothing but a layer of glitter, and the glitter actually appears to sparkle on screen. Everything in the Troll’s world also appears to have texture and fine detail. Princess Poppy’s scrapbook fantasy world also has a unique look distinct from reality. The Bergens, too, are colorful in their own way. Though not as vibrant as the Trolls, the Bergens are based primarily in greens and purples and appear to have a different texture than the Trolls.
Trolls is delightfully colorful and features a fun soundtrack, unique characters, and even more color; however, the movie offers little else that viewers haven’t seen or heard before. It’s still worth at least one viewing.