Anyone who has a kid or who is just a sucker for anything made by Dreamworks will have likely seen Trolls by now. At first, it seemed like another story where the sickeningly optimistic and positive Troll princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) would get to save the day by showing everyone how happiness is inside all of us. Luckily, Trolls exceeded all of our expectations; it proves to be a truly magical treat. And even though the trolls only know how to sing and dance (and scrapbook), they use their gifts by singing timeless classics that blend perfectly with what they're doing.
Dreamworks's Trolls isn't just a black & white story about happiness; it also shows the shades of grey, like how we can't be truly happy if we pursue happiness in all the wrong places for the wrong reasons. We must have an open mind and heart, because happiness is inside all of us — sometimes we just need someone to help us find it.
Trolls' message is clear though; much like the thing left when Pandora opened the darned box, we must never lose hope. Hope is essential to life. Much like Trolls, the movies below espouse this value with stories that are great for both kids and kids at heart — and lovers of catchy tunes!
4. Rise Of The Guardians
- Starring: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin
- Release Date: November 21, 2012
- Director: Peter Ramsey
- Production Company: DreamWorks Animation
Rise of The Guardians is another awesome movie by DreamWorks based on the book The Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce. It tells the story of the Guardians of wonder, hope, memories, and dreams: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman respectively. When Pitch Black (Jude Law) threatens to flood the children of the world with nightmares, the guardians enlist the help of the spirit of winter, Jack Frost. Everyone thinks Jack doesn't exist, and he doesn't get along well with the other Guardians — but he becomes the frostbitten beacon of hope in this heartwarming film.
- Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristin Bell
- Release Date: November 27, 2013
- Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
- Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Elsa's demeanor is akin to Troll Branch (Justin Timberlake), because they are troubled by sad pasts. Similar to Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), Anna is happy and overly positive, which sometimes makes her stubborn and refuse to listen to reason. That stubbornness leads to trouble. In the end however, it is the sad and broken individuals that manage to save the day. In both of the movies' immortal song lyrics: if you can't stop the feeling, let it go.
2. Shrek 2
- Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy
- Release Date: May 19, 2004
- Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
- Production Company: DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images
As children, we were enthralled by stories of happily ever afters; of fairy godmothers who would come and cheer us up on our lowest point by transforming us into a sight to behold; and of finally getting a chance to be with the prince/princess of our dreams. But then, Shrek came along and with it, the truth that even green, stinky ogres and be truly good individuals, and beautiful people could be hiding a personality fouler than the swamp where the ogre lives.
Like the banished Bergen Chef of Trolls who could provide "happiness", the fairy godmother (Jennifer Saunders) of Shrek 2 (who also happens to be Charming's mother) brings happiness and beauty — for a price. Beyond pretending to look out for everyone, both of these characters are manipulative and conniving individuals who take advantage of others' misery and insecurity for self-gain.
1. The Lorax
- Starring: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron
- Release Date: March 2, 2012
- Director: Chris Renaud
- Production Company: Illumination Entertainment
The Bergen Chef (Christine Baranski) of Trolls holds the Bergens of Bergen Town under his rule, assuring them that he's the only one who could provide them "true happiness". Similarly, The Lorax's main villain, the mayor of "Thneedville" Mr. Aloysius O'Hare, sells bottled oxygen to his citizens and basically controls them with his business.
Aside from being Dr. Seuss's personal favorite among his stories, The Lorax is a film that definitely encourages us to conserve and respect nature. Aside from both having anti-consumerist themes, both Trolls and The Lorax teach us the same lesson: the best things in life are free — or rather should be free, like happiness and oxygen. And Dr. Seuss's famous Lorax words ring true for both films - unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.
Some of these movies belong in a franchise or have been adapted from books, and some I've memorized every line from because they're just that good. They have memorable characters that teach us with valuable lessons in life and not just through amazing songs or dance numbers. Their stories are timeless, and inspire us to do the right thing, listen to our guts, be true to our self, and care a great deal to improve dire situations.
If you loved Trolls and haven't seen these movies yet, you're missing out! If you loved Trolls' messages of hope and optimism, you will surely enjoy and love these animated films just as well.