Trolls 3D (U)
Pitched firmly at the younger spectrum of the kiddie market, this latest, wildly colourful DreamWorks musical animation, based on the toys (called Gonks in the UK), comes from the creators of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.
Princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) is the leader of the relentlessly optimistic and cheery Trolls who live in the middle of the woods and are always ready to burst into song. Unfortunately, they also live in fear of the Bergens, miserable giant ogres who, led by King Gristle (John Cleese), believed the only way to become happy was to eat Trolls.
For 20 years, the Trolls have managed to remain hidden, but, then, the light from a wild disco party gives them away and, as the Bergens prepare to revive their annual Trollstice feast day, Poppy joins forces with the Branch (Justin Timberlake), the world’s only unhappy Troll, to rescue her friends from the cooking pot.
Featuring the voices of Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Prince Gristle, the young ruler of the Bergens, Zooey Deschanel as the maid who’s secretly in love with him, Gwen Stefani as the Trolls’ DJ and Russell Brand, Icona Pop and James Corden as fellow Trolls as well as a whole bunch of new and old songs sung by its stars, this may not be for anyone older than their shoe size, but it’s still an irrepressibly fun ride. 92 mins. Also in 2D.
Storks 3D (U)
Back in the day, storks deliver babies, but, following an incident in which one of the birds (Danny Trejo) tried to keep the tot for himself, breaking her, quite literal, homing beacon in the process, they got out of the baby business and now deliver parcels from their Corner Store HQ on Storm Mountain.
Top of the delivery tables is Junior (Andy Samberg) who is thrilled to be told by Hunter (Kelsey Grammar), the big boss who uses little birds as golf balls, that he’s going to be promoted to take over from him at the upcoming StorkCon shareholders meeting. But first, he has to fire Tulip (Katie Crown), who, the baby that never got delivered, still lives with them. Now that she’s 18th (and also because she tends to cause all kinds of chaos), Hunter says it’s time she became part of the human world. However, faced with telling her, Junior just can’t get the words out and, instead, tells her she’s been given a job in the letter sorting office. Which she should never leave. Given that nobody writes asking for babies any more, she’s bored out of her head and spends the time talking to herself, acting out (with the help of a pliable hairdo) different personas, each of them excruciating annoying.
Meanwhile, out in people land, his real estate parents (Ty Burell and Jennifer Aniston) always too busy to spend any time with him, young Nate decides he’d like a baby brother, one with ninja skills. Mum and dad dismiss the idea, but, finding an old leaflet about the stork service, he writes a letter which duly winds up in Tulip’s hands and, before Junior can stop her, goes into and reactivates the baby making machine. Now they find themselves with an unexpected tot to deliver, before the meeting and before Hunter finds out. Junior, however, has injured his wing, but, fortunately, Tulip’s cobbled together a makeshift plane.
Without prolonging the agony of explaining things, suffice to say that Tulip’s maternal instincts mean the mission doesn’t go as planned, leaving the trio being pursued by wolves and, thanks to the aptly named Pigeon Toady, quite possibly the most annoying animated character ever, their secret is revealed to Hunter. And to top it all, Jasper, the stork who tried to abduct Tulip in the first place, also turns up, determined to rectify his screw up. All of which somehow manages to end up with Nate’s intended sibling in the custody of Hunter’s penguins and the baby machine churning them out like rabbits.
Mercifully, there are some good moments (almost all of them involving Alpha and Beta, the two wolves who fall for the cute pink-haired infant, and the way the pack is forever forming itself into things like a plane or submarine), but they’re mostly overwhelmed by the unrelenting screech elsewhere. Undemanding four-year-olds may be entertained, but, unfunny, relentless and charmless, the best thing to be said is that it’s not as bad as the profoundly tedious The Master: a Lego Ninjago Short that precedes it. A bundle of joy it is not. 87 mins. Also in 2D.