HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Trolls: Party Edition
HTS Overall Score:81
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]“Trolls” is nothing but one giant party of colors and the 2.39:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is just BURSTING at the seams with all different shades. Pretty much every color that you can think of is represented on screen from the pink of Princess Poppy, to the dark greens and nasty browns of the Bergens. Fine detail is resplendent with all sorts of animated detail popping up on screen, showcasing some of the best digitally animated hair textures I’ve ever seen. When the trolls burst into the underground room of Bridget you can see all sorts of textures the stone walls, as well as the creases and pits on the poor scullery maid’s ugly face. Blacks are deep and inky with NO sign of crush or banding (except for one small flicker of banding that was almost imperceptible). The overall clarity is top notch and while not AS perfect as a new release Pixar film, “Trolls” happens to be one gorgeous looking Blu-ray.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90714[/img]Fox has decided to go the route of Sony once again and forego the Atmos mix on the Blu-ray and instead save it for the 4K UHD disc. That being said, the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track provided is no slouch either. The film’s biggest asset sound wise is the near CONSTANT use of peppy music to keep your feet and fingers tapping along with the beat. The soundstage opens up magnificently with the bright pop songs, and shows some fantastic spacial shifting with even the quieter and more intimate songs. The cheery voices of the trolls and the roaring voice of the monstrous Bergens are all replicated perfectly in the center channel, while the dynamic range allows for some seriously explosive moments throughout the track. LFE is tight and controlled, aiming for a middle of the road approach in terms of intensity. The music is away with the bass throughout, but there are also some really deep and powerful moments that will cause your pant legs to be a flapping as well.
• 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 and audio for the Blu-ray 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 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish DTS 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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