Directed by: Joel Crawford | 26 minutes | animation, comedy, family, fantasy, musical | Original Voice Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, James Corden, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Walt Dohrn, Kevin Michael Richardson, Curtis Stone, Mike Mitchell
An explosion of bright colors, glitter and music; that is pretty much the summary of the animation film ‘Trolls’ (2016), from the DreamWorks stable. Story-wise it was not all that much, but that was nicely disguised by the swinging soundtrack in which old and new songs were skilfully tied together and in which the sweet-voiced voice of Justin Timberlake played a leading role. The superstar also scored the summer hit of the year with the infectious ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’, written especially for ‘Trolls’. The music is the great strength of the film, in combination with the excellent voice cast that, besides Timberlake, consists of Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Russell Brand, among others. Because of subtlety, a strong story, impressive animations or original characters, ‘Trolls’ doesn’t have to have it. It doesn’t matter to the young target group, because they enjoy the hysterical parade of craziness that DreamWorks presents them to the fullest.
To build on the success of the feature film, a short film has now been released entitled ‘Trolls Vakantiespecial’ (‘Trolls Holiday’) (2017). The approximately 25-minute video picks up where ‘Trolls’ ended and looks back at the events through the scrapbook method, which has been developed in a simplified animation style. That could have been original, were it not for the fact that almost every animation film that contains a flashback uses this approach nowadays. The Trolls and Bergens have made peace, and Troll Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and Bergens’ mild-tempered Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) are best friends these days. Where the Trolls have something to celebrate almost every day, the Bergens have lost their only holiday – Trollhappen by burying the peace ax. Because Poppy feels sorry for that, she drums Branch (Justin Timberlake) and her other friends together to offer the Bergens one of their holidays. But while they’re super busy pitching all those different holidays for Bridget and King Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Poppy does not realize that her friend is not at all waiting for that busy stuff.
The story of ‘Trolls Holiday Special’ is, if possible, even less to the body than the full-length animation film on which this short is based. Nevertheless, the writers managed to incorporate a – not too original – moral (‘listen carefully to each other’) and to emphasize the importance of (celebrating together) holidays. The contrast with Pixar’s shorts – which often last significantly shorter – is enormous, both in terms of content and artistically. For many people, however, the nothing-to-the-hand style of ‘Trolls’ works. They are served in that respect, because ‘Trolls Holiday Special’ is more of the same. That means 25 minutes packed with a kaleidoscope of color, glitter, energy and music.