TROLLS: 3 STARS. “weirdest kid’s entertainment since ‘H.R. Pufnstuf.’”
Anyone who grew up in the 1970s will remember The Trolls. The vinyl creatures with DayGlo Eraserhead coifs and big goofy smiles invaded pop culture, decorating everything from rear view mirrors to teen’s bedrooms. Unlike modern day internet trolls, these creatures were joyful, hug-happy little things with more personality than your average Pet Rock and a ubiquity that made them one of the symbols of a kinder and gentler time.
Then they, like other 70s fads like disco music, streakers and Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo, they faded into obscurity, banished forever to the Retro section of your local junk shop.
Now they’re back in a big screen adventure from the makers of “Shrek Forever After” and “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”
In this new, updated story the Trolls make a daring escape from the Troll Tree in Bergen Town. The Bergens are snaggletooth ogres, as miserable as the Trolls are joyful. True happiness for the glum townies only comes with eating Trolls, obviously a huge problem for our heroes. Led by King Peppy (voice of Jeffrey Tambor) the colourful creatures relocate to a place with “clean air, freshwater and great acoustics” they truly live in harmony. On the 20th anniversary of their emancipation from Bergen Town they do what they do best, throw a wild, loud party that attracts the attention of the head Troll Hunter and cooker of Troll Treats (Christine Baranski). The Bergen party crasher stomps into Troll Town, making off with dozens of citizens, leading Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) to lead a rescue mission to deep into the heart of darkness, Bergen Town.
“Trolls” the movie is as eye-popping as the psychedelic creatures that inspired it. Possibly the weirdest kid’s entertainment since “H.R. Pufnstuf.” More sensory overload than narrative, “Trolls” is a fun ride but it is more concerned with entertaining the eye than the brain. In a blur of neon the story unfolds with a mix of kid friendly pop songs, supervised by Justin Timberlake, and psychedelic story telling that allows strange characters—like a stoner cloud (Walt Dohrn)—to inhabit a weird and wonderful place for eighty-five quick minutes.
“Trolls” doesn’t have the impact of “Frozen” or the messages of “Zootopia” but it is a brightly coloured, optimistic and chirpy way to spend a Saturday matinee with the kids.