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dir Mike Mitchell
prd Gina Shay
scr Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
voices Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Jeffrey Tambor, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, John Cleese, Gwen Stefani, Quvenzhane Wallis
release UK 21.Oct.16, US 4.Nov.16
16/US DreamWorks 1h32
Can't stop this feeling: Branch and Poppy
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Almost ludicrously happy, this colourfully animated musical comedy makes up for a thin plot with quick wit. It's fairly impossible to wipe the smile off your face from start to finish, even in the movie's deliberately feeble attempt to generate some tension. And as Justin Timberlake's pathologically bouncy theme tune says, you can't help but want to dance.
To celebrate 20 years since their escape from the troll-eating bergen, Princess Poppy (Kendrick) throws a huge party for the giddy troll community, which is dedicated to singing, dancing and hugging. But the paranoid Branch (Timberlake) warns that all the celebrating will alert the bergen to their location. Sure enough, bergen Chef (Baranski) pounces, taking a bum-bag full of trolls back to King Gristle (Mintz-Plasse). So Poppy convinces Branch to launch a rescue mission. And they'll need the help of bergen scullery maid Bridget (Deschanel) to make this work.
There's never even a hint of suspense here, even though bergen constantly talk about eating trolls. They think that's the only way to achieve happiness, so of course a lesson is required. Stir in a couple of romantic subplots, and it comes to life thanks to a script that's packed with deranged gags and unexpected dialog. Action set-pieces are riotously funny, while the characters manage to surprise us along the way. They also continually break out singing.
Voice work from the starry cast is full of character-based personality. This gives the sense of a terrific mix of people who each have just a bit of shading. Kendrick and Timberlake are solid as our heroes, surrounded by a lively ensemble of quirky fun-lovers. As the villain of the piece, Chef is the only one-note role, but she's played with gusto by the fabulous Baranski.
The film zips along so effortlessly that it's over long before we're ready to leave this colour-soaked universe. The classic pop songs will have the audience singing along (and dancing too), and there are some catchy original numbers as well. Technically, the animation is at a very high standard, using a wide range of tactile surfaces and lurid hues, and it's directed with an exhilarating surplus of energy and motion. If anything, the whole movie is too jaunty for its own good. Although the central message that we can be happy whatever our circumstances has some bite. But what you'll remember (and want to buy in the shops) is the troll that farts glitter.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
|Princess Bananahammock, Essex innit: A colourful tuneful bundle of happiness! A very cute film with some real chucklesome moments. I defy anyone not to love it and bop along in their seat. It'll leave you smiling! (24.Oct.16)
© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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