2016 has already been a strong year for animations, and it looks to close out with a bang too with a couple more big animations between now and the end of the year, one of which is the musical Trolls. Here's my review (or brief thoughts then a fun little rant for you all).

Based on the popular troll dolls from the 90's, the premise of Trolls follows the adventures of the titular beings - happy creatures that constantly sing and dance and hug - and, in particular, the happiest, most optimistic of trolls, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), and the grumpiest and most pessimistic of them, Branch (Justin Timberlake). After Troll Village is invaded by the most miserable creatures to exist, Bergens, and Poppy's friends are kidnapped, she and Branch must put aside their differences and learn to work together in order to defeat the Bergens and restore joy and order to the Trolls.
We've seen many films based on popular old-school toy/merchandise items surface in the past few years and Trolls is just the latest off of Hollywood's conveyor belt for printing money. Is it a bad film? No, certainly not. Is it so great on the level of The Lego Movie that it actually needed to be made? No, it's most definitely an unnecessary film. It's a colourful, nicely animated movie that kids will soak up and that the adults that take said kids will find passable enough that they won't question their life decisions and want to kill themselves (here's looking to you Norm of the North, Ratchet and Clank and The Angry Birds Movie). But, again, does that mean we NEED this film? Does it mean Hollywood NEEDS to keep regurgitating the same generic stuff all the time in hopes to get a big box-office haul and lots of merchandise sales? I'll admit, I enjoyed Trolls a fair bit. It was a pleasant surprise and, as irritating as the buoyancy was at the start and as reluctant I was to like this movie, similarly to the character of Branch, I was won over by the heart and charisma by the end. However, I will say that I will never watch this again. Nor do I really want to.

We live in a time where cinema is currently so overstuffed with bloated blockbusters, unnecessary reboots and sequels and films based on popular franchise properties, all just because we are familiar with a name and it means we'll go see these films for 'nostalgic' purposes and these films end up with big box-office hauls. 2016 is the perfect example of this; take films such as GhostbustersIndependence Day: Resurgence, Angry Birds and even Trolls. This year has had mediocre cash-grabs in abundance! Of the four aforementioned films, Trolls was the best... and even that is merely passable and competent. All of the aforementioned films are relying on nostalgia and brand identity and, despite all being poor films, they made a lot of money. Because despite knowing they'll be bad and despite fore-warnings from poor reviews we still go and see these movies over other ones and we give them our money. And then we, as audiences, wonder why originality in cinema is dying? We have the audacity to call cinema out? Save for Disney's live-action reboots such as The Jungle Book, or Marvel's Civil War, every truly great film that has released this year has been original and there aren't many (even Civil War is a breath of fresh air for its genre too, to an extent). 2 of my favourite films of the year are The Nice Guys and Hell or High Water and both were fresh and unique and original... both also under-performed at the box-office.
However, pretty much every mawkish, forgettable and just lacklustre film that released this year was either a bloated blockbuster (looking to you Warcraft), a pointless reboot (an pointless new Ghostbusters anyone?), a sequel no one asked for (the resurgence of Resurgence) or a book or property you once enjoyed in your past now made into an unnecessary film (Allegiant; Me Before You; Miss Peregrine; Trolls; Angry Birds and the list goes on) and the sad part is that pretty much all (give or take) of them made loads of money. Maybe it's just a phase? Like the current comic-book movie reign we're on. But it just feels like the quality of stories is deteriorating, just because Hollywood can no longer be bothered to take risks and invest in funding UNIQUE, NEW stories. Thankfully, the end of 2016 looks bright with fresh new stories but let's just hope they all make some good box-office hauls to show studios that maybe we do want something a little different. Harmless entertainment such as Trolls is by no means a bad thing (who doesn't enjoy Justin Timberlake voicing a moody troll breaking out into song and dance) but with the amount of unoriginal films this industry deals out, it becomes a little tedious. Heck, we have Monopoly, Emoji and Barbie movies all currently in the works. What's next? Pen: The Movie, a tense thriller about a pen? If we don't support the original indie and arthouse films that release, that's what this beautiful, magical and truly wondrous industry will become. And that's a real tragedy.

There are pacing and storytelling issues, but Trolls is charming and fun, if a little unnecessary and pointless. But, like Branch himself, you can't help but be won over by the heart and charisma by the end - no matter how reluctant you are to do so at the start.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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