Universal Pictures made the right decision to release Trolls World Tour on demand. Every kid quarantined at home will be singing and dancing their little hearts out. Trolls World Tour is a cotton candy hued, musical mash-up of sledgehammer multiculturalism. The film blends hits from each genre into a barrage of trippy, song-fueled set pieces. The auto-tuned vocals became increasingly more annoying, but younger audiences won’t have that complaint. If you liked the first film, the sequel is turbocharged.
Trolls World Tour reveals other troll kingdoms and their distinct musical styles. Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and her smitten bestie, Branch (Justin Timberlake), learn they are Pop Trolls. The neighboring Rock Trolls, led by the bullying Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), are on a head-thrashing, ripping guitar solo quest to conquer everyone else. Rock would be the only music allowed.
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Poppy refuses to believe Barb is a threat. She wants to prove that all trolls can get along and respect each other’s music. Branch, Biggie (James Corden), and Mr. Dinkles (Kevin Michael Richardson) races to intercept Barb, but are sidetracked along the way. Poppy underestimates Barb’s rocking resolve, while Branch struggles to express his love. Their personal problems become another hurdle to stopping Barb’s rock domination.
Trolls World Tour is a ninety-minute music video. Every new troll kingdom bellows and prances to their genre. The action is nonstop as the hit remixes keep coming. Children will embrace the energy, but it becomes overwhelming for those with longer attention spans. The filmmakers could have tempered the flow with more downbeat moments, or cut back on the number of songs. There’s so much music, nothing really stands out. The lack of a memorable tune turns Trolls World Tour into a blur.
The diversity themes are also unrelenting. A few sequences are cleverly done. But the message is continually pounded like the Techno Trolls drum and bass. The preachiness is akin to the auto-tuning, too pervasive. I’ll be curious about the general reaction to several new characters. Trolls World Tour celebrates all lifestyles with a decidedly liberal values set. Will that even be a murmur given the dire state of the pandemic?
The film deserves praise for the vivid animation. It would have been a humdinger to see in the theater. That said, I was lucky enough to stream the film on a high end 64 inch OLED television. Incredible is an understatement. The Funk Trolls spaceship looked like a rainbow exploding into the living room. Another standout visual has Queen Barb and her Rock Trolls facing off underwater against the Techno Trolls. The eye candy needs to be celebrated. The look of the film shouldn’t play second fiddle to the music.
Trolls World Tour is a demographic bullseye. Younger children are going to be mesmerized by the film. It’s like watching and listening to refined sugar. I have no doubt that Trolls World Tour will spawn countless web sing-a-longs and karaoke parties. Singing and happiness is needed now more than ever. Trolls World Tour is a production of DreamWorks Animation. It is available on demand by Universal Pictures.
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Film critic, raconteur, praying for dolphins to grow thumbs and do better.