A BIT OF A HISTORY:
DreamWorks Animation Studios should be a case-study examination on the rise and fall of a once proud company. Producing their first film back in 1998 with Antz, DreamWorks slowly became a force to reckon with a string of successful features, including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. At its height, the studio was at the top of its game, being one of the top tier animation studios out there, jostling for the #1 position with upcoming rival studio Pixar Animation studios. Unfortunately, the company has faced hard times (changes over distribution and company ownership), cutting jobs within and producing two movies a year instead of three. Even with popular recent hits like How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3, their animated the feature films themselves have become less-than desirable, with mediocre hits like Turbo, Home, and Rise of the Guardians, which either faced poor reviews by fans / critics or underperformed in box office projections. And now, with Disney back on the scene (producing more favorable hits) as well other animated studios, it seems DreamWorks the “old dinosaur” of animated world. With the success of their first 2016 film (Kung Fu Panda 3), DreamWorks now prepares (hopes) for another hit with their new movie Trolls. Does this latest cartoon endeavor find its charm and box office success or its another misfire from DreamWorks?
HOW THE MOVIE CAME TO BE:
Trolls is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical adventure romantic comedy film based on the Troll dolls created by Thomas Dam. The film was directed by Mike Mitchell and co-directed by Walt Dohrn,written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and based on a story by Erica Rivinoja. The film features the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden and Gwen Stefani. The film revolves around two trolls on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Bergen, creatures who eat trolls.
Produced as the 33rd animated feature film by DreamWorks Animation, the film premiered on October 8, 2016, at the BFI London Film Festival and was theatrically released in the United States on November 4, 2016, by 20th Century Fox.The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $338 million worldwide against its $125 million budget.
DreamWorks announced plans for a film based on the Troll toyline as early as 2010. This version was to be written by Adam Wilson and his wife Melanie. By 2012, Chloë Grace Moretz had already been cast in the female lead role and Jason Schwartzman was reported to have been offered the male lead. In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced that the film with the working title Trolls would be released on June 5, 2015, with Anand Tucker set to direct the film, written by Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes.
By April 2013, DreamWorks Animation had acquired the intellectual property for the Trolls franchise from the Dam Family and Dam Things. Having “big plans for the franchise,” DreamWorks Animation became the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights, except for Scandinavia, where Dam Things remains the licensor. In May 2013, the film was pushed back for a year to November 4, 2016. The same month, DreamWorks Animation announced that Mike Mitchell and Erica Rivinoja has been hired as a director and screenplay writer to “reimagine” the film as a musical comedy, which will present the origin of the Trolls’ colorful hair.On June 16, 2014, Anna Kendrick joined the cast to voice Poppy, a princess.On September 15, 2015, Deadline.com reported that Justin Timberlake will voice a character named Branch.Timberlake previously worked with DreamWorks Animation as the voice of Arthur “Artie” Pendragon in Shrek the Third in 2007. The full cast announced their respective roles via announcements on Twitter on January 6, 2016.
WHAT I THOUGHT:
Now that is a new thing for me, so be gentle in your judgement, I have never reviewd a movie before, what’s left for an animation, but I promise to be brave and speak my mind as clearly as possible. Trolls provides the right mixture of approachable material as well as animated silliness. It is intended for kids after all, so that is to be expected.
Speaking of silly, the film’s humor is more gear towards the young crowd (as is the entire film). Thus, most kids will find the movie funny as some adults might even give a good chuckle here and there. For the most part, the film, much like the Trolls themselves, the film is light and colorful. The animation style is also interesting and pleasing to the eye. Colors are extremely bright and vibrant and the film as interesting style of animation that has a more “felt” (the fabric material) in its presentation, which definitely makes the film standout against the classic CG animated nowadays. The actual design of a lot of the film’s characters are quite interesting as well as creative from the small, plucky Trolls to the big monstrous but still kid friendly Bergens and every other creature in between. It echoed animated series from the 80s such as Le Fruittis and The Glo Friends.
I was particularly happy about the soundtrack choices made, they were all gold favouites from my years of growing up. That part was executed brilliantly.The songs are quite catchy, a combination of original songs and popular (or at least recognizable) hits from music’s history past. Some might argue that the film uses too much songs, but I personally didn’t mind as it added the overall enjoyment of the feature.
What I didn’t enjoy was the plot line. The overall story was enjoyable, but some crucial moments that could have been cliff-hangers were overdone in a sloppy manner which robbed my excitement. By saying this I really hardly try to keep in mind that complicated plotlines are not made for age 5-10, but still I feel that compared to Dreamworks’older movies this was a downfall. The messafe of the movie is not complex or sophisticated like Finding Dory or Zootopia, Trolls centers around the ideas of finding your own personal happiness, overcoming hardships to accomplish goals, and (of course) the always universal one of “being yourself”. Like said, while these are important moral / lessons to learn, Trolls doesn’t go beyond its surface level to present these messages (nothing deep like Inside Out), but, given the movie’s overall lightheartedness, its effective in its deliver to its youthful viewers, elevating the film’s final product.
Overall I mark it as an easy to watch, not-get-you-too-occupied movie for a laidback passtime.