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Trolls (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

TrollsAhhh, the treasure trolls.  They’ve been around forever.  Everyone grew up with one, knows what they are, sold a lot of items based on different colors of hair.  Popular damn things.  Are they still?  Not sure.  However, wow, it has taken a REALLY long time for them to get a movie off the ground, right?  You would have thought this movie would have been attempted or come out in the 1990s, on the second wave of their big fad (Originally made in 1959, they became popular in the 1970s first).  It could have been regular 2D hand drawn or a CG movie.  But, nope.  Here we are in 2017 (Well, the film was released last year so 2016) and its finally here.  If it would have came out then, though, they wouldn’t have likely instantly hit gold with a big pop song for the movie.  Yes, they’ve got Justin Timberlake who (when it comes to music) is just instant success.  The film is available for purchase on 4K UHD Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray on February 7th. 

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Film 

The colorful, richly textured Troll Village is full of optimistic Trolls, who are always ready to sing, dance and party. When the comically pessimistic Bergens invade, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch set off on an epic journey to rescue her friends.  Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

Trolls is a well enough that I didn’t hate the movie, cruised along easily and got a kick out of a couple parts (Yeah, I’m looking at you Cloud Guy).  The film leans heavily on its musical numbers, while also feeling like a giant build up to a brand new Justin Timberlake song.  It has some all time classic songs I really enjoy done in fun renditions (The ogre rendition of “Clint Eastwood” by The Gorillaz got a loud chuckle out of me).  One of the funniest reviews I read about the movie said something like “For a movie that hammers you in the head preaching originality and always being yourself, it sure did spend a lot of time singing other people’s music”.  Which is something you don’t realize til afterward.

On these, my true judge on the film, as always, isn’t me; its my kids.  I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.  We took them to the theater to see it opening weekend (Which yeah, I saw this before I was able to get to Doctor Strange…ugh, parenthood lol).  Both seemed to really enjoy it and dug the music in the film.  They remembered characters names and I did not.  They’ve also picked up some Trolls swag along the way.  I think my daughter (the 2 year old) took to it moreso than my song.  They’re excited for it on 4K UHD though.  So that’s a good bar.  This one is mainly for them, but I think you’ll survive one viewing.

The cast here is pretty solid.  Anna Kendrick seems to have an endless stream of charm that extends even to her animated forms.  She runs the full gamut of acting and singing here.  Justin Timberlake mixes in with her pretty well while Zooey Deschanel gives almost an unrecognizable turn.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse is pretty much what you expect from him.  Scene stealing, however, is Walt Dohrn.  He’ll be your favorite in the short time you get to spend with him.

Trolls is a decent amount of inoffensive fun for you to sit through with the kids while they go on and love it.  Its strength is in the songs used to carry the film along as it makes a couple decent jokes and hides a few bits of adult humor in there.  No, this isn’t for the adults, but they do help that in spots.  Its full on for the kids, and its super colorful, fun, cute and boppy.  Pick it up for them, they’ll really dig it.

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Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Trolls comes to 4K UHD with a solid, noticeable upgrade over its standard Blu-ray counterpart.  A lot of difference comes in a sharper, cleaner image that features enhanced detail.  Texture, like the trolls themselves, is move apparent and you almost feel like you know what its like to brush your hand over them.  Overall, the image “appears” darker than the Blu-ray, but is a much more refined and true image (I’ll got into a bit more in color).  This is going to be a thing to get used to with some movies when moving over into this format and being able to handle more delicate and nuanced colors.  Overall, Trolls isn’t going to take the new format by storm, but it does look quite fun to the eyes and is a worthy uptick on the Blu-ray.

Depth:  Being computer animated (and also theatrical distributed in 3D) allows this one to have a nice free and easy look to it.  There is good spacing between foreground and background and the movements are very smooth and seamless.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich, deep and refined here in this transfer.  Many different shades, tints and the like come through while still showcasing detail on darker, textured objects, clothing and surfaces.  No crushing witnessed on this review.

Color Reproduction:  The HDR really does kick things up a notch, but the difference between this and the Blu-ray is a more refined palette and look.  Some may say the Blu-ray is more vivid and bright, but this actually brings a lot more color and nuances to the image than before.  Its kinda like that TV being set of Dynamic at the store…brighter and blown out isn’t accurate.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 DTS-HD MA default), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  For an Atmos track, Trolls kinda lacks in showcasing what can really be delivered.  They maybe should have just stuff with a rock solid 7.1 presentation.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, the 7 channel mix is pretty good and really feels pretty intricate and nuanced, but when it comes to that “extra” mile for the Atmos, there really isn’t much there.  However, what do you care? Your kids aren’t really going to complain about it, so for a title like this, its a nit pick and not a bother.

Height: Not a whole lot of activity from the ceiling, and much of it that is there isn’t too inspired.

Low Frequency Extension:  Some decent thumps to be had from feet stomping, things crashing and bass hitting in the songs for this one.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This mix features a good 7 channel swim, keeping rear and side speakers plenty active with ambiance or unique sounds.  Movements and travel of sound is accurately depicted from screen to speaker-to-speaker.  Volume placement is well done as well in terms of onscreen distance.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clear.  Singing is taken up a hair and also plenty loud and full sounding.

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Extras 

Trolls comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.  Bonus materials are found on the Blu-ray disc.

Travel Through Troll Village (HD, 4:43) – An overview of characters and places hosted by Cloud Guy.

The Potion for Stop-Motion (HD, 5:06) – Focuses on how some of the stop motion animation was  crafted implemented for the film.

Creating Troll Magic (1080p, 5:21) – Covers the design and construction of the characters as well as storyboards and previsualization materials.

Inside the Bunker (HD, 2:54) – A tour through Branch’s doomsday bunker with the cloud character.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:24) 

Troll 2 Troll (HD, 4:46) – The characters of Poppy & Branch debate a few “this or that” topics.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:05) 

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Summary 

Trolls comes to 4K UHD with a pretty solid presentation.  It does the trick in delivering some lovely looking colors and sharp imagery while bringing a decent Atmos track with it.  The extras are a bit skimpy and forgettable aside from the stop-motion one.  I think this is one your kids are going to enjoy while you may not as much, but hey, its a good distraction for them while you get some stuff done, amirite?

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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