The underlying premise of the movie is that the darling,
cheery trolls, flashing their heads of flaming neon hair, for more than half a
century—are considered a dainty gastronomic delicacy by the Bergens, a
race of grouchy ogres whose only source of happiness, under the rule of
King Gristle (voiced by John Cleese), consists of plucking a troll off
the troll-tree on their Trollstice holiday and devouring it.
Unfortunately for them, Troll King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) engineers an
underground escape of his tribe to a distant area of the surrounding
forest, where their settle in blissful security despite the
determination of Chef (Christine Baranski), the nasty cook for King
Gristle, to recapture them.
Ten years pass and the trolls have become so unconcerned about
the danger of the Bergens that when Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) plans
a boisterous party, despite warning from the tribe’s leader, Branch
(Justin Timberlake), that the racket could attract unwanted attention.
Branch proves prophetic, of course: the noise lead Chef to the shindig. Before long many of Poppy’s closest
friends are back in Bergen hands. What’s she to do but go to rescue
them, with Branch—obviously infatuated with her—reluctantly tagging
Their journey brings them closer, of course, but they also meet some new characters: a jokey Cloud Guy (Walt Dohrn), who helps
them find a way into the castle where the captured trolls are being
held, but especially Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), a Bergen scullery maid
in Chef’s kitchen who’s infatuated with Prince Gristle (Christopher
Mintz-Plasse). Taking a self-admitted turn from the Cinderella story,
Poppy, Branch and the other trolls do a makeover on Bridget, leading to a
romance between her and the prince and winning her over as a staunch
supporter of the troll cause, which proves the key to their escape.
But of course that’s not all. The Bergens must also be taught that
happiness doesn’t depend on what you consume but what you feel
inside. Branch learns that lesson
as a result of his adventure with Poppy. And in the end everybody is in
good spirits without anybody becoming tonight’s dinner, and the crowd
of giants and shrimps celebrate together in a musical jamboree.
That’s not unusual because Trolls is a musical; some of the songs are newly created tunes but there are also many old standards. One of
the most memorable comes with the resurrection of Cyndi Lauper’s “True
Colors”—especially appropriate because so much of the charm of the
storytelling lies in the hues of the characters and backgrounds. But
many other old favorites show up along the way.
The result is a picture that you may feel is “F.T.O.” (for
tots only) like the Smurfs, though the studio is hoping it
can appeal beyond that group. Beyond that, the toy company that created them will
certainly benefit because little ones will certainly want some of these cute
little critters in their toy boxes.