Movie review: Trolls

Movie reviews

Hello, everyone!

Usually, I go to the cinema on a Friday or during the weekend. However, I made an exception this week and went to see a film on a Monday afternoon as a reward for finishing a very depressing anthropology essay (I wrote about race and racism). As a result, I chose a movie that I hoped would make me smile and would lift my spirits – Trolls. So, let’s see if the film succeeded in that regard!!

IMDb summary: Enter a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic Trolls, with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach

Writing

Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, writers of the Kung Fu Panda series and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, penned the script for Trolls and did a good job. The narrative was not the most original – it had the basic rescue plot, a storyline of hero’s growth, a dead relative (a Disney/Pixar staple in a DreamWorks film?) and even a Cinderella-esque plot-line on a side. However, it was executed effectively. Trolls was cheesy and had heart: it was pleasing to the eye, the mind, and the soul. It portrayed universal topics of friendship and family and looked for the balance between positivity and negativity. It overcame the problematic and a tiny bit cruel premise that one can only be happy by hurting others with a concluding notion that happiness is inside all of us, but sometimes we need others to bring it out. The film’s jokes were mostly aimed at children, but a few more adult lines were also slipped in, including ‘Little slappy, make daddy happy’ moment. I also appreciated ‘the happiness equals pizza’ scene.

Directing

Mike Mitchel (worked on the Shrek movies and the new SpongeBob film) and Walt Dohrn (co-wrote the Shrek series, the Madagascar series and Rise of the Guardians) directed the film and did a nice job. I loved the fact that they and the DreamWorks animators just went all out with the colors. Trolls was an absolute explosion of the rainbow – all big and bright. I loved the troll’s hair and the way they used it as a tool or a weapon. Both the hair and all other surrounding textures appeared to be very furry and soft – I really wanted to physically touch that world. The structure/appearance of the trolls’ bodies reminded me a bit of smurfs, although it was actually based on the Danish woodcutter’s Thomas Dam’s designs. Because of the way trolls acted, they also had some similarities to minions. I wish that Trolls would become the new Minions because I am so tired of those yellow fire-hindrents – they are literarly everywhere. Trolls’ movements (or singing, dancing, hugging, and scrapbooking) were realized nicely as well: they moved realistic enough but also had the right amount of fantasy’s fluidity. Lastly, the movie had a mid-credits scene, so make sure you stay through the first part of the credits to watch it.

Music and Voice Work

Christophe Beck was responsible for the music and he did a fairly good job. The film had a good mixture of well-known pop songs and, since I enjoy pop music and different covers of it, I liked the overall soundtrack. My favorite performances were the sadly happy ‘True Colors’ scene and the unapologetically bright and explosive finale with ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’. That song was literally everywhere this past summer (and will probably re-appear after the release of this picture) and was the best marketing for the film. However, I wish they would have released the movie’s version with both Kendrick’s and Timberlake’s vocals, instead of it just being sung by Timberlake. Both of them did a good job with their songs and dialogue, though. Kendrick (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Pitch Perfect and upcoming The Accountant) was bubbly and sweet as Poppy and Timberlake (Friends with Benefits, In Time, upcoming Woody Allen project) was moody and whiny enough to be Branch. Branch’s character was probably the one that I related the most to. I also liked the meta-moment when Branch said ‘I don’t sing’ even though the person behind his voice is literally one of the greatest singers/entertainers of out generation.

The supporting voice cast included a few actors, a few comedians, a few singers and even a few YouTubers: Zooey DeschanelRussell BrandJames CordenGwen Stefani, and Icona Pop all had characters to bring to life. Youtube was represented by Ricky Dillon, Kandee JohnsonGloZell GreenCarrie Hope Fletcher, and Connie Glynn (Noodlerella). All of them were supposed to have voice cameos in the film, although I’m not sure in which versions. I definitely know that Carrie and Connie aurally appeared in the UK version – the one I saw.

Rate: 3.75/5

In short, Trolls was a delightful little film. It had superb animation, some nice songs, and good performances from the voice cast. The story lacked originality but entertained me in that familiar kinda way. Next similar film – an animated musical comedy SING will be coming out in December/January!

Trailer: Trolls trailer

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Movie PREVIEW: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeĀ 

Movie previews

Hello!

Nowadays, getting a new comic book movie every month is seen as normal development. Deadpool blew everyone’s minds back in February and March’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hopefully has a lot to offer before Civil War starts in April and before Apocalypse rolls into theaters in May! Yeah, this is real life.

As with Star Wars, the hype for BvS is huge in the digital world. So, I decided to dedicate my 2nd ever movie PREVIEW to the long-awaited DC showdown. I will discuss the advertising campaign, the behind-the-scenes people, Man of Steel and DCCU. I will also tell you my hopes and expectations for the movie. Let’s go!

Marketing

While BvS’s marketing campaign is not as cool or unique as Deadpool’s, it is definitely equal to Deadpool’s in the quantity. I, personally, have seen way too many different teasers and trailers for this film. Some of them were very repetitive, while others – unnecessarily spoiler-y. I do wish that they would have given us more of footage of Wonder Woman, though.

Zack Snyder

Prior to the release of BvS, I spent a week familiarizing myself with Snyder’s previous filmography, especially the films that were based on the graphic novels. I started with 2009’s Watchmen– the film that divided and polarized the fandom. I quite enjoyed the film – it was a different and unique take on the superhero genre. It was simultaneously very realistic and extremely absurd and, also, dark and disturbing. In addition, I love stories that are set in alternative historical times/parallel universes, so Watchmen appealed to me in that aspect. The picture’s soundtrack was also interesting. The movie had a few problems with pacing and narrative clarity but it was definitely a great picture altogether. I also really want to read the original source material – the graphic novel by Alan Moore – because that book is regarded as one of the best (or even the best) graphic novel(s) of all time.

I then moved on to 300 and its sequel 300 Rise of an Empire. In short, I would describe 300 as sepia toned and noir-inspired panels of the graphic novel by Frank Miller that have come to live in zoomed-in/zoomed-out slow motion, while being narrated by a very deep voice (similar to Sin-City, whose story was also written by Miller (P.S. Snyder will also be using a lot of aspects of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in BvS)). I also imagine that 300 was Lena Headey’s audition for the role of Cersei in GOT, because she played a total bad-ass (more likable than Cersei, though).

300’s sequel was only produced by Snyder, but his ‘creative signature’ was very noticeable in that film. That movie wasn’t as good as its predecessor, but still enjoyable. I also watched Snyder’s attempt at animation – Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – it was a delightful and visually stunning animated feature.

I also liked what Snyder did with Man of Steel and I am interested to see what will he do with BvS. I also wonder will he be able to top himself in the Justice League movies – he is set to direct both parts.

BvS Cast

Both Batman and Superman have a long cinematic history, which I am not really familiar with. The Batman that I grew up with was played Christian Bale in Nolan’s trilogy (not a bad Batman to grow up with, in my opinion). Because of this, I felt kinda weird when Ben Affleck was cast in this iconic role. I wasn’t one of the naysayers, but I wasn’t that excited as well. Although, I did always believe that Affleck could give us an amazing performance and he kinda proved that already – he looks awesome in the costume and plays the older, more rugged Batman very well (at least in the trailers).

On the other hand, Superman of my childhood/youth has always been the one played by Henry Cavill, so I don’t really have anyone to compare him with. To me, he is the Superman and I do like him in the role.

Finally, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was even bigger and more baffling surprise than ‘Batfleck’. I have never seen her in a serious role – she has always played  oversexualized characters that are not taken seriously, and there is nothing wrong with that. Nevertheless, I am putting all my faith in Gal Gadot and I believe that she will be able to bring the Amazonian Warrior to live on the big screen and will stun us all.

DC v Marvel

Marvel was the company that introduced me to the comic books as well as comic book movies. However, DC popped up on my radar with their comic book TV shows. I don’t think that I would be able to pick one side over the next. I love Marvel films but Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tommorrow are my favorite TV shows (although, Netflix Marvel shows are threatening to overtake them). In the end, I do sincerely hope that both MCU and DCCU films will be amazing and financially successful. Both studios are releasing films about superhero in-fitting, so we don’t need more fighting between the actual studios – let’s not carry fictional stories into reality.

DCCU and Man of Steel

Man of Steel was, of course, was the film that started the, then non-existent, DC Cinematic Universe. Back when Man of Steel came out, I wasn’t a big fan of comic book movies and I didn’t pay much attention to them, so I treated the new Superman flick as an ordinary action movie. Surprisingly, I did enjoy it – it wasn’t perfect but it was completely fine. However, when I realized that comic book movies can be serious yet still fun and awesome (Winter Soldier basically changed my mind on this genre), Man of Steel did look kinda bad when compared to other films on the market. When DC announced that they will start their own cinematic universe, I questioned whether it was a good decision to start a film universe with an okay or less-than-okay film. If we look at MCU, the first film of that franchise is Iron Man – arguably (by some) the best film in the MCU to date.

However, Warner Bross earned my respect and trust, when they deliberately acknowledged the faults of Man of Steel when moving forward, meaning that the things that irritated everyone in that film are and will be the main source of the cinematic conflict going forward. It might have been an unplanned decision, but it somehow worked – the luckiest accident in the film business.

WB has also released their schedule for DCCU movies going forward:

  • Suicide Squad  – August 5, 2016
  • Wonder Woman –  June 2, 2017
  • Justice League Part One – November 17, 2017
  • The Flash –  March 16, 2018
  • Aquaman –  July 27, 2018
  • Shazam – April 5, 2019
  • Justice League Part Two –  June 14, 2019
  • Cyborg – April 3, 2020
  • Green Lantern Corps – June 19, 2020

I am the most excited about the next two films that follow BvS, because

  1. Suicide Squad’s trailers and casting choices were awesome
  2. Wonder Woman is one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to see her in BvS. She will also be the first titular female lead in a comic book movie in a while.

I don’t know whether it was a good idea to announce movies 4-5 years into the future. The element of surprise has been lost, however, at the same time, the fans can now get hyped about more films. I wonder whether this hype won’t be lost in a few years – imagine being excited for a film for 4 years? Wouldn’t that be tiring? Yet again, Star Wars fans have been waiting for a sequel to the original trilogy  for more than 30 years and the hysteria surrounding The Force Awakens was unbelievable in its size. In conclusion, I have no idea what the future holds for the genre of the superhero movies.

And speaking about the close future aka the movie that will be released on Friday: as you can probably tell from this post and your general time on the Internet, WB doesn’t have that good of a track record when it comes to DC movies. However, I want to keep an open-mind and I don’t want to prejudge BvS. At the same time, I don’t want to set my expectations too low. Basically, the balance of expectations is the key in this case. Nevertheless, BvS can’t be just a balanced or a mediocre movie: it will either break or make the DCCU and this weekend will decide that.

As with Star Wars preview post, I will show you my #OOTD or outfit of the BvS premiere day. It’s nothing special – I wish I knew how to do cosplay properly, had the money and the time and was brave enough to do it. It’s just a T-Shirt that I found in Primark. I decided against picking a side, so I’m representing the 3rd party of the BvS conflict – Wonder Woman.

This post turned out to be much longer than I expected. I am so happy that I did not try to include all of these ideas and thoughts into the main review, because that review, I imagine, will be long enough on its own. I am seeing the movie on Saturday – 26th of March – and my review will be posted the same day. Goodbye!

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