Today I had the pleasure of watching the Dreamworks animated movie Trolls in the company of my seven-year-old. Based on the child's toy of the same name, the movie casts the cute and happy Trolls as the heroes, with a stereotypical plucky princess who must embark on a quest to save her people.

I went in with very low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself not entirely revolted. While my brain did want to shrivel due to saccharine overdose in a few spots, it wasn't as mindless as I had feared. The script writing is solid though not groundbreaking in any way. The characterizations, while thin, are sufficient to the task, with at least one surprise that wasn't telegraphed in advance. Minor threads that are sewn into the opening act actually get picked up again in the finale, to my surprise and admiration for giving closure in a way that the film certainly didn't demand.

But who cares what I think, kids like it? They do. The villains of the film, ogre-like creatures called the Bergen, are sufficiently cartoonish that their one-note and decidedly evil plan (to eat all of the Trolls) never results in children hiding under the seats or averting their faces in terror. The musical numbers are plentiful but brief, never overtaxing the attention span of the target audience, but at times playing to the parents in terms of song selection. There was no dancing in the aisles but there was definitely bouncing in the seats. Make sure to drain the top third of your freakishly large soda during the first act!

And I learned where glitter comes from! While this puzzle had never occupied my faculties before, the answer seems obvious in retrospect.

It's not a film I'd have picked on my own, nor is it one that I expect to stand up to repeated viewings, but it made my child happy, it made her friends happy, and it did not make my cerebellum liquefy and run out of my ears. And it was an excuse to eat a bag of popcorn the size of my head! So, if you're a parent looking to while away a rainy afternoon, buttery thumbs up to Trolls.

I did not have any of the Trolls toys as a child, although I was given an Original Battle Troll as a gag gift for my desk at a long-ago job.


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