Trolls movie review: This is not the road to happiness

Trolls movie review: As DreamWorks get to work trying to make your day a little brighter, this film's steadfastly cheery attitude starts grating on the nerves.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2016 6:13 pm
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Trolls movie cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski
Trolls movie director: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell

Before trolls became the social media beasts they are now, and long after their birth as mythical creatures with mean qualities, they existed as cute American dolls. With beaming smiles and colourful hair guaranteed to make your day a little brighter.

Not as bright though as DreamWorks can make it, once it has got in princesses, a prince and Cinderella, a whole lot of singing, and a whole lot of of musing over the nature of happiness and hope.

Trolls are happy people, living in a happy place, atop a happy tree, but threatened by the boorish Bergens. The Bergens believe in eating trolls to make themselves happy, and so the scared trolls one night run away into the forest. Twenty years pass, before they are rediscovered by the Bergens courtesy a night of hard partying with loud music and a generous use of glitter that trolls emit from body orifices (make that all orifices). Both the music and the glitter make a splash in the dark forest night sky, and lead the Bergens right to their ground hole. After some of her friends are captured by a particularly nasty Bergen, Chef (Christine Baranski), princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) decides to rescue them. Lending his services is the one grumpy troll called Branch (Justin Timberlake), who has led his friend-less life in dread of this day.

As Poppy goes recklessly into war still with a song on her lips and with her watch set to “hugging time every hour”, as it is done in troll-land, the film’s steadfastly cheery attitude starts grating on the nerves. With danger hovering actually a few metres away, Branch’s precautionary measures are more sensible than the film chooses to give him credit for.

And yet, the road to happiness for the saddest person in this story, a Bergen called Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), starts from pretending to be someone she isn’t.