HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:78
Does anyone remember those ugly little troll dolls that made a giant comeback in the 90s? As a child of the early 80s I wasn’t born when they were all the rage in the 60s, but I was in the full bloom of teenagerhood when they blasted back onto the scene in the mid 90s. Pogs, Trolls, hacky sacks, they were those things that you look back upon and go “huh, how did that get popular”? They were literally the ugliest little toys that I have ever seen, with long spiked hair and faces that only a mother could love, but for some reason every female (and some male) child I knew NEEDED those little things. Well, thankfully that craze died down near the end of the century, but now they’re back again after someone decided that they would make the perfect characters for an animated movie. The thing is, these trolls are actually kind of cute. I will fully admit that I expected “Trolls” to be a perfect train wreck of a film from the trailers. Movies about old 80s and 90s nostalgia haven’t done so swell *cough*Pixels*cough*, and it seems that studio heard are scraping the bottom of the barrel with tiny dolls like Trolls and the upcoming “Tetris” movie (yes, I know. A movie about falling bricks is going to become a feature film). However, I was pleasantly surprised by the animated film as it has a charming display of emotion as well as a nonstop barrage of pop songs to keep you distracted from the fairly cookie cutter plot.
The legend goes, that trolls are adorably cute little creatures who absolutely have zero cares in the world. They love to sing, dance and make merry all the day long. The only thing is there is a race of creatures out there who AREN’T like that. These grumpy, dissatisfied, unhappy, foul creatures are known as the Bergen. The antithesis of the happy trolls, they capture the little creatures and keep them in Bergentown where they eat trolls each year in order to absorb some of their happiness for a short while (a really disturbing thought if you think about it for very long). One year King Gristle Sr. (John Cleese) is ready to pass on the torch to his son, Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) by having him eat his very first troll. The only thing is that the trolls have managed to escape from their prison and out into the wild once more.
Furious about the loss of his trolls, King Gristle banishes the chef in charge of the operation (played by Christine Baranski) out into the wilderness. Fast forward 20 years and the trolls have made a life for themselves far away from the horrors of Bergentown. Singing, dancing and making merry are once again part of everyday life for the princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and her band of friends. The only one who ISN’T so merry is a bitter little troll by the name of Branch (Justin Timberlake) who is paranoid that the Bergens will overhear the partying and come find them once more. Completely ignoring the advice from Branch, the rest of the troll’s party like its 1999 only to ACTUALLY attract the attention of the Chef, who has been searching the woods for the past 20 years in hopes of redeeming herself in the eyes of the king.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90698[/img]Able to capture only a small handful of trolls, Chef heads back to King Gristle Jr. (now taking over for his father) her prize in an effort to regain her seat of power amidst her own kind once more. By, you know, serving up the trolls as a feast. While everyone is desperate to find a new home and escape with what members they still have left in their tribe, Princess Poppy refuses to accept defeat and heads out with Branch to try and find the trolls in Bergentown. On her journey she finds herself face to face with a young Bergen scullery maid named Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) who is in love with young King Gristle, opening up the perfect opportunity for her to get close to the captured trolls and free them before they get munched on for dinner.
“Trolls” is a very light and fluffy film. Outside of the basic premise of saving the trolls from certain death and the underlying theme of finding happiness in your SELF, the plot of pretty paper thin. It’s mostly just a giant excuse for pop songs and animated dancing in order to entertain the kiddies. And I’m not saying that it DOESN’T entertain either. The cute kids flick was actually a whole lot better of a film than I was expecting, and while it isn’t high art, makes for a toe tapping good time. The sparkling personality of the adorable Anna Kendrick is partially the reason for that success, as she exudes cheerfulness at every turn and Justin Timberlake’s sourpuss Branch makes the perfect opposing star for her. The film has pretty much every major pop song in it for the last 10 years or so and takes up a good majority of the time, and it adds a sense of upbeat fun to the movie that otherwise would have been pretty bland.
The technical wizardly of the film is still top notch, and rivals Dreamworks biggest money makers in quality. Now, while “Trolls” doesn’t show much promise for a franchise like “Ice Age” does, it certainly is entertaining and cotton candy fluffy entertainment that aims for the kiddies and isn’t a bad experience for the adults as well. I found myself chuckling quite a few times despite my dour predictions from the theatrical trailer and I have become REALLY jaded with modern animated films after every studio has tried to replicate Disney’s success to the point of over saturation.
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90706[/img]The “Trolls” Blu-ray was a stunner of a disc, and the 4K disc is following right along with its footsteps, offering a health upgrade over the already wonderful 1080p presentation. Usually the one thing that stands out from a Blu-ray to 4K UHD upgrade is the colors. They’re almost always brighter, richer and fuller, offering some great use of HDR. Well, the first thing you’ll notice about the 4K disc is that the colors are actually different from the Blu-ray. They’re darker and more mellow, and I don’t mean that the overall darkness levels on the disc were adjusted like some 3D discs are. The color tones themselves have been graded slightly different and while they’re just as luscious and well saturated as the Blu-ray the seem to be ever so slightly darker and less garish. That’s not a knock on the 4K disc as I’m not sure exactly HOW the image is SUPPOSED to look, but it still sports that same luscious color spectrum and the textures and fine detailing is even better than the Blu-ray. The hair looks even more intricately detailed than ever before and the detailing in Bridget’s room shows off more tactile features than I was able to pick up in the prior review. Blacks are still inky and deep, showcasing fantastic shadow detail and an overall lack of artifacting.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90714[/img]While the 4K UHD disc is home to the Atmos track that the Blu-ray didn’t offer, it isn’t something I would sweat about for those who haven’t upgraded yet. The Atmos experience sounds eerily similar to the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track on the Blu-ray. So much so that You can really only barely hear the difference between the two if you listen closely. The overheads are used mildly, such as when poppy is bouncing around up in the branches of the trees and bushes, but other than that it’s not a whole lot of difference between it and the already fantastic 7.1 mix. Surrounds soak up the musical numbers like they’re nothing and the vocals are above reproach. It’s still a very very slight upgrade to the 7.1 mix, but I’m giving it a 4/5 instead of the 4.5/5 I gave the 7.1 mix due to the fact that it’s a little disappointing as an Atmos mix.
• Party Mode - Sing, dance and laugh along with the Trolls in this engaging, interactive feature.*
• only on Blu-ray: use your remote to conTROLL fun on-screen moments!
• Travel Through Troll Village - Cloud Guy narrates a fun exploration of Troll Village.
• The Potion for Stop-Motion - Part behind-the-scenes, part stop-motion tutorial, this featurette explores the process of creating Poppy's visually stunning scrapbook.
• Creating Troll Magic - Trolls Production Designer Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin leads a kid-friendly exploration of her role as production designer on the film before highlighting four key stages of creating the animation with detailed visuals of each stage.
• Troll 2 Troll - Poppy and Branch have a friendly debate on important topics such as "Cat vs. Dog."
• Inside the Bunker - An in-depth exploration of Branch's "special" place, narrated by Cloud Guy.
• Deleted Scenes with Intros by Director, Mike Mitchell and Co-Director, Walt Dohrn.
“Trolls” isn’t high class entertainment, and it’s certainly outclassed by many an animated film, but it’s still harmless fun whose only fault is being just a little bit trite. There’s enough fun to warrant a rental by those looking for animated humor, but isn’t going to rival the big guys. I was expecting pure and utter TRASH going by the theatrical trailers, but was pleasantly to find it charming enough to act as a good time waster for the kids and I even enjoyed the film for what it was. Dreamworks knocked it out of the park with the animation for the 4K UHD disc, and even the extras are more than substantial to warrant a thumbs up. Worth at least a watch in my humble opinion.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel
Directed by: Walt Dohm, Mike Mitchell
Written by: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish, French DD 5.1
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Buy Trolls: Party Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Trolls On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Worth A Watch
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