Australian Council on Children and the Media

Trolls

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended 5 to 8 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Trolls
  • a review of Trolls completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 November 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Trolls
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild crude humour, some scenes may scare very young children
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This animated movie is set in a magical, colourful paradise where a community of trolls live a fun-filled existence filled with hugs, dancing, singing, scrapbooking, and even glitter-farts. They are ruled by the eternally optimistic and gorgeous Princess Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) who loves to keep everyone happy.

One day, Princess Poppy throws a party so spectacular and so loud that it is spotted in the distance by a 'Bergen'. Bergens are horrid, depressed, monsters that have decided that they can only become happy by devouring trolls. This particular Bergen, the exiled head chef (voice of Christine Baranski), knows that she can win favour with the young Bergen King  'Gristle' (voice of Christopher Mintz-Plasse) by bringing him some tasty trolls to eat. She gate crashes the troll party and kidnaps a handful of the tiny creatures.

Princess Poppy is completely shocked but knows that she must rescue her captured subjects before they are eaten. She enlists the help of Branch (voice of Justin Timberlake) who is the only grumpy and pessimistic troll in the bunch. Poppy convinces him to team up with her to travel to the Bergen town and save the kidnapped trolls. Along the way, despite the peril, many lessons are learnt and many cheerful songs are sung.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Community; love and kindness; kidnapping; creatures being killed and eaten

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are a few scenes of animated violence in this movie including:

  • A baby Bergen yanks out handfuls of his father's chest hair in order to wake him up.
  • Branch chases a cloud-man with a pointy stick
  • Branch uses his long hair as a whip to protect Poppy from some spiders.
  • Branch throws Poppy’s guitar onto the fire.
  • There are many scenes of creatures eating or swallowing other, smaller creatures.
  • On their journey through the forest, Poppy and Branch come across many big spiders and animals that attempt to eat them
  • Poppy gets trapped in spider silk and five spiders crowd around her and are about to eat her. She is rescued by Branch.
  • King Gristle’s ugly pet alligator chases the trolls.
  • The chef often threatens the trolls with knives or cleavers from the kitchen.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The Bergen head chef is a scary monster-like character with glowing red and yellow eyes and jagged teeth. There is a scene where she grabs trolls and puts them into a bag.
  • Bergen town is a very squalid and dirty place where no one is happy.
  • Branch relives a sad memory of losing someone he loved.
  • The trolls get captured and put in a large tureen to be eaten.
  • When the trolls lose their optimism, the colour drains out of them. It is an emotional scene.
  • There are a few chase scenes where characters are in peril.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children of this age may also find some of the above scenes scary or disturbing and parental guidance is recommended.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual and romantic references in this movie, including:

  • Bridget (voice of Zooey Deschanel), the Bergen scullery maid, is in love with King Gristle. She dreams of him, pines after him and is making a scrapbook collage of romantic images of her and the king.
  • The Trolls agree to give Bridget a makeover and make her into a "total babe" so that she is more attractive to the King.
  • Bridget and the King go on a date and exchange flirtatious comments. There are some suggestive comments such as: "Maybe we should find another way to...ahem...work up and appetite?"
  • Bridget does some flirtatious and sexy dancing.
  • King Gristle is shown exercising furiously and he says: "I just have to lose thirty pounds in the next eight hours" in order to impress Bridget.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and crude body-function humour in this film, including:

  • The troll King takes off his clothes and has a bare bottom.
  • The glitter troll is naked and can do glitter farts.
  • One of the creatures poos cupcakes.

 

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There are some mild insults in this film, including:

  • One troll asks "Are you really going to invite this party-pooper to poop on your party?"
  • Cloud-man says:  "Alright dumpy-diapers" and "little slappy, make daddy happy"
  • The Bergen Chef says to the servant girl: "you greedy, greedy pig."

 

In a nutshell

Trolls is a fantastic and lively spectacular. It is full of funny, loveable characters and some entertaining music and dance scenes. It is humorous, well-paced and full of good messages. With trolls being chased and eaten and scary creatures such as the Bergens and large spiders, the film may be too scary for under-fives, but otherwise can be enjoyed by both a range of children and their parents/carers.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • The benefits of staying positive and optimistic.
  • The power of community, friendship and teamwork.
  • The joy of music.     

Parents may wish to discuss whether you should feel that you need to change your appearance to be attractive to someone to whom you are attracted.

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