Tag Archives: Dreamworks

My Thoughts on: Trolls (2016)

Well, as the saying goes, better late to the party than never! Four years after its release to theaters, I finally sat down and watched DreamWorks animated film Trolls. As I recall, I skipped this film because, well, it was November 2016 and certain things were happening, and I just never got around to checking it out as I wasn’t really feeling the vibes of this film. However, when I saw that a sequel would be coming out this spring, I decided to give Trolls a chance.

And wow, what a cute, amazing, adorable film! I admit, I wasn’t exactly keen on the premise of a movie based on the Trolls toys I played with when I was a little kid, but the studio really makes it work. There’s a believable backstory, a sensible plot, and even a satisfying twist in the third act (albeit one that’s slightly telegraphed in hindsight, but it is a children’s movie so I’ll let it slide).

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In brief, Trolls follows the titular characters as they escape the clutches of the Bergens, a perpetually unhappy group who believe that eating trolls is the only way to feel even a glimmer of happiness. 20 years after their initial escape, the Bergens recapture most of the trolls, and Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), along with a somewhat reluctant Branch (Justin Timberlake), take it upon themselves to rescue them. Comedic adventures ensue.

I think my favorite part of Trolls, adorable animation aside, is the awesome soundtrack. This is the kind of film you can jump up and dance to, or at least tap your feet to. Having Justin Timberlake in the cast was great, although for a minute or two I was legitimately convinced that he would go the entire film without singing (oh the irony). And really the rest of the cast is awesome too, with Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel among my favorites. I also have to give a shoutout to Christine Baranski as Chef, she makes an awesome villain.

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If you still haven’t seen Trolls, I highly recommend it. It’s a little over 90 minutes of adorable, quirky fun and I’m glad I finally checked it out after all this time.

Let me know what you think about Trolls in the comments below and have a great night!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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John Powell talks How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Following the success of the original How to Train Your Dragon (2010), a sequel was released in 2014 to general praise. Five years after the village of Berk made peace with dragons, they live together in harmony and Hiccup is still riding Toothless and exploring new lands.

John Powell talks How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

But there’s an enemy on the horizon: the mad warlord Drago Bludvist is on the move with an enormous dragon army. He seeks to conquer the world with his dragons and it’ll be up to Hiccup and his friends to stop him.

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Composer John Powell returned to compose the music for this film (having scored the original film and earning an Academy Award nomination in the process). The interview that I have found features the composer speaking in-depth about his score for the film, how he created the various themes and what his creative process was. John Powell is familiar with scoring animated films, having previously worked on such films as Robots, Rio, Happy Feet, Antz and three of the Ice Age sequels (to name a few).

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This is another film series that I haven’t seen due to a lack of free time, but I’ve heard good things about it, so if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it to you. A third film, How to Train Your Dragon 3 is due out in 2018. Enjoy Powell’s talk about How to Train your Dragon 2!

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See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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*poster image is the property of 20th Century Fox

Shrek (2001) upends fairy tales!

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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I have a confession: knowing that Shrek is fifteen years old today makes me feel exceptionally old (and I’m only 27).

On this day in film history, Shrek was released by DreamWorks Pictures and established the studio as a competitor to Pixar in the world of computer animation (as the technology used in Shrek was state of the art at the time of release). The film is a combination of a parody film and a fractured fairy tale in that, at times the film openly mocks pop culture (Duloc is a parody of Disneyland) and it also twists the original fairy tales (princesses are supposed to be rescued by handsome princes and defended FROM the ogre, not vice versa).

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In this story, reclusive ogre Shrek (Mike Meyers) is forced into a quest to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) for the spineless Lord Farquad (John Lithgow) when his swamp home is overrun with fairy tale refugees driven out by Farquad (who desires perfection above all else, and fairy tale creatures don’t belong as far as he is concerned). Fiona appears to be a spoiled princess upon first meeting: she’s miffed that she’s been rescued by an ogre and not “Prince Charming”, she’s rude and demanding, but over time she, Shrek and Shrek’s annoying sidekick Donkey (Eddie Murphy) reach an understanding.

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But Fiona has a BIG secret of her own. It turns out (*spoiler alert*) that she’s under a curse: by day she’s a gorgeous princess, but by night, she turns into an ogre (a female version of Shrek, to be precise). She tries to tell Shrek about it because she discovers she wants to go off with the ogre (and to heck with “happily ever after”) but due to a misunderstanding, Shrek thinks that Fiona hates him for being a “beast” (not realizing that Fiona was talking about herself). As a result, an unhappy Fiona ends up being led away by Lord Farquad (who also has no idea about his bride-to-be’s secret). Thankfully, due to some intervention by Donkey, Shrek comes to accept that he does love Fiona after all and saves her at the last minute from being wed to Farquad (who himself ends up as a dragon’s dinner in a particularly satisfying moment).

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In one final twist, the curse is broken, but instead of remaining human (as you might expect in a traditional fairy tale film), Fiona remains an ogre (which makes her absolutely beautiful in Shrek’s eyes) and they get married and ride off in an onion carriage (a parody of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage), but is it happily ever after? Shrek 2 might have something to say about that…

I remember going to see this movie in theaters and laughing hysterically for most of the story. The film does appear slightly dated fifteen years down the road (CGI has advanced by leaps and bounds since then) but it’s still a cute family film (that will hopefully be added to my collection someday).

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See also: Animated Film Reviews

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