Kid's Korner - Trolls - Is this really where happiness can be found? 2.5 stars

"No Troll left behind"

Popcorn, M&Ms and a large drink. Roll the film... For the children of the 60s and 80s, Trolls is a throwback to your youth. Yet, how will the creepy little dolls of yesteryear translate to a major motion picture and this new generation? 

Kid's Korner rating: 
2.5 stars

          Life can be wonderful in the technicolour and joyful world of the trolls, except when the Bergens are involved. Happiness is the centre-point of all that the trolls do, which includes song, dance and hourly hugs. This sort of happiness only comes around once a year for Bergens, during the annual tradition of Trollstice. The miserable community of the Bergens can only find true happiness when they have eaten a troll. This tradition just will not do for the troll's King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) and in a brave escape plan, he leads their miniature community outside of the reach of the Bergens. In their new land, these vibrant creatures can sing, dance, hug and be happy all the time and after 20 years, things are still going well. What do trolls do when things are on the brighter side of life? They throw an anniversary party, of course. Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) decides it will be the biggest and loudest party that the community of miniature people have ever seen. As a warning against this celebration, Branch (Justin Timberlake) tells Poppy and the gang that this celebration will cause the Bergens to find them. Throwing caution to the rainbow wind, the bash begins and with it comes the unwanted attention of the Bergen Chef (Christine Baranski). She takes many of Poppy’s friends for the reintroduction of Trollstice. The princess must enlist the help of Branch to go and save the trolls from being the Bergen’s bite-sized happiness snacks. 
       With the talents of Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake at the forefront of this multi-coloured quest, it is destined to be a musical. On this front, it will not disappoint fans of animated musical numbers. With a combination of throwback songs and the inclusion of original material, the music will cause  this soundtrack to be on the playlist of the mini-van brigade for the next year. Unlike the monochromatic world of the Smurfs, the production team went out of their way to develop a multitude of colourful characters that add fun and interest throughout this hair-raising adventure. Along with the soundtrack, parents will have a myriad of options to choose from for Christmas. Dreamworks has managed to get the music, marketing and merchandising right for thier newest franchise. The key problem with the whole thing comes down to the story, which is quite mundane and murky for a children’s tale. 

       In the attempt to strike a balance between the saccharine-sweet world of Disney and the gloomy world of Laika Entertainment (The Boxtrolls, Coraline), the production team provides a bi-polar experience that is less than satisfying. The over-the-top world of the trolls is cringe-worthy and unrealistic in its utopian nature and the dreary world of the Bergens may cause some children to have nightmares. The difficulty with the life-lesson that comes out in the end will leave many parents in the audience confused and the children with an unrealistic view of the world. In the world of animation, idealism is understandable in this fictitious world of creatures that pass glitter instead of gas, but ultimately the message is confusing and less than satisfying. Overall, the film is harmless and similar to many other children's films of the past, but it should carry a warning for parents to know what message is being delivered to the children. 
What should parents know about Trolls?   The heart of the story comes down to a discussion on happiness. Is it merely a feeling or is there something more to the notion of being happy? The world of the Trolls communicates a message of happiness being found in actions and feelings. Happiness comes through dancing, singing and hugs. These things are not bad in themselves, but these are not truly where happiness can be found. After seeing Trolls, it might be worth talking about contentedness with life and where true joy can be found. The Bible can equip parents with this discussion and help them to point children to true satisfaction in life that can be found in Christ.    

Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. Does God say about happiness? (Proverbs 3:13-18, Ecclesiastes 3:12, Philippians 4:7)
2. Where is contentedness found ? (Psalm 16:8-11, Philippians 4:11-13, 1 Timothy 6:6-8)

Best Kid's Korner Films of 2016 
Ranked with the assistance of our junior reviewer

The qualifications do say that they are kid friendly, but check the ratings. Some films on the list may not be suitable for young children. 
  1. Zootopia
  2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Finding Dory
  5. Pete's Dragon
  6. Kubo and the Two Strings
  7. The BFG
  8. Trolls
  9. Storks
  10. The Secret Life of Pets
  11. The Legend of Tarzan
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Kid's Korner are reviews written by Russell Matthews' with his kid's perspective and based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingrevs #trolls