PG. Yeah, I can see that. Couldn't even get a "G".
DIRECTORS: Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell
My wife really liked it. My kids really liked it. I didn't care for it.
It's not that I don't like kids movies. I'm genuinely hyped for The Lego Batman Movie. I even dig Frozen after the millionth viewing. This movie just felt safe and that's not my favorite. The big problem is that the movie isn't even considered horrible. It does its job: entertain little kids by putting a bunch of bright colors on screen and put popular music over it. But this movie definitely feels so paint-by-numbers that it doesn't challenge kids.
I don't know why I'm surprised. I just realized that I'm writing about a product placement movie. Perhaps that's my association with The Lego Movie. Trolls, as opposed to Lego, doesn't want to upset the apple cart. It is hard to change the game completely, so it provides its generic format and storytelling to what they know works. My wife's love for this movie (she downloaded the soundtrack when we got home) is about the archetypes. Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake, is the grump who can't appreciate the happiness around him. He's Mr. Darcy and Heathcliff. My wife loves Mr. Darcy. My wife loved Branch. The more I write this, the more I sound like Mr. Darcy. I'd like to think I'm more positive.
Perhaps I'm a hypocrite. When Moulin Rouge came out, I loved the idea of scoring a musical completely with covers of popular songs. For some reason, the same technique is in Trolls, only with songs I don't really like. (I liked the Gorillaz song, but it seemed so on the nose and "The Sound of Silence" is only 40 seconds long.) I just seemed like the movie was bending over backwards to check off what kids movies should be like a list. Popular songs in an animated movie just felt like trying to score the entire movie with Smash Mouth's "All-Star." We get that kids like popular music and my 33-year-old brain has already become an old man.
There is some fun stuff here. The jokes often land and there are some great non-sequiturs. I actually liked the part of the movie that my wife didn't care for. I dug the relationship between Zooey Deschanel's Brigid and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's King Grizzle. It was cute and they weren't pretty. Maybe I'm just a grump, but that was way more appealing than anything else that was presented in the movie.
I know that I've been beating a dead horse about how paint-by-numbers this movie felt, but the character design hurt my heart. The bad guys (I'm not even going to bother looking up their names because if they didn't put the effort in, neither will I) were straight up knockoffs of Boxtrolls. I don't know if the creative team from Boxtrolls was brought in for Trolls, but the logic is pretty lazy there if that's the case.
No, I am not the audience for this movie. The movie isn't even the worst. I just can't applaud laziness.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.