In a time of economic turmoil, political strain and general twenty-first century difficulties, it is fair to say that we are all in need of a little cheering up. There is no better film to raise spirits higher than Dreamworks’ vibrant, Technicolor, toe-tapping and shoulder shaking film Trolls. Within this delightfully bright and ‘hippie-esque’ film is an important message: that we should all be happy and that we have the ability to be so; even in times of confusion and unrest. Trolls delivers this message not only to the main target audience – children – but to the big kids and the slightly more sensible adults sitting in the cinema as well; through smart puns, revisions of old and favourite songs and a simple but clever storyline. It teaches the message that we can all find happiness and that in life, this can be found in an abundance of places!
Trolls teaches its audience two ways to find this happiness.
One: by being proactive. Do things that make you happy!
Two: find happiness with others! Being with other people makes you happy because you are sharing experiences!
A third message is also delivered, which ties in these two main lessons: happiness is not a physical product to consume (and this is an important plot point in the film), but something that is only truly found within us. Everyone should seek happiness and it is up to us to find the outside source of this happiness!
Therefore, Trolls encompasses this brilliant and vital message in the form of the first two: happiness is found through doing things that makes our inner happiness gem glow, and to surround ourselves with people who make that gem glow brighter still.
The two protagonist Trolls, Popp and Branch (voiced by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake) live in a world where they have happiness generated by singing, dancing and hugs, as well as being constantly surrounded by their friends and family. Their world is also emphatically bright – which adds to this overload of happiness. The colours can either be seen as overwhelming, or delightfully beautiful. I choose to see the latter; hypnotising and visually glorious. The Trolls' enemies are The Bergens; sort of ogre-giants. They believe the only way they can be happy is by eating the brightly coloured and endlessly cheery Trolls; just like eating sweets, the Trolls give them a temporary surge of happiness which then runs out and they need to consume more. The Prince of the Bergens, Prince Gristle Jr. has never eaten a Troll and so believes he has never felt happiness and indeed never can unless has eats a Troll. He, and the rest of the Bergens, live in a dark, grungy and miserable world where no one is happy and any glimpse of happiness is soon destroyed by an oppressive feeling of anger, sadness or belittling – seen most heartbreakingly by Bridget, the serving girl who is in love with Gristle. Poppy and her gang of friends, including Branch, teaches Gristle, Bridget and their fellow Bergens (and then of course the captivated audience) that happiness is not found and made by eating brightly coloured Trolls. They can all learn how to be happy through the two lessons the film has been demonstrating from the start; being with good people and doing things with those people.
The songs and puns will have your own inner happiness gems glowing throughout the film and long after you leave the cinema. I challenge any viewer to leave the cinema not grinning madly like Poppy, shimming and shaking and singing the cheery song for day to come! And I challenge you to not feel a little brighter!
Winter is grey and the world is going through troubling time, yet Trolls will bring light and happiness into the lives of all those who watch it and install positive and joyful feelings. This film is for everyone: someone who is already a happy Troll, a bit of grumpy Bergen, or a Branch (someone who needs reminding to be happy!) and I guarantee happiness will fill you long after the credits have stopped rolling. You will be singing and dancing all the way home and dreaming in brighter colours than could have ever imagined once watching Trolls!
Trolls is being shown at Kids Club, and Autism Friendly screenings. Book your ticket here.