Review by James Lindorf
Four years ago, DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” created a hit song and made almost 3x its budget at the box office. Now, DreamWorks along with Universal Pictures, have brought back Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, and an all-star supporting cast for “Trolls World Tour.” Queen Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) latest adventure will take them well beyond anything they’ve known, and this time the fate of the whole musical world at stake. Trolls World Tour concert dates begin April 10th live at all major VOD venues, including Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video.
Now that they are no longer being hunted, Poppy and her friends are free to live as loud and carefree as they want. That is until a mysterious invitation to the Trolls World Tour arrives, and they learn that they are but one of six different Troll tribes. Each tribe has been living isolated and devoted to a different kind of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop, and Rock. Now a member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), is determined to unite the world under one sound, hers. To save the world Poppy Poppy and Branch, along with their friends Biggie (James Corden), Cooper (Ron Funches), and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) must unite the other lands in harmony or risk being upstaged by Barb.
Director Walt Dohrn returned, and this time he brought along David P. Smith and his more than 20 years of experience creating animated television and movies to be his co-director. Also returning are writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who were responsible for the 2016 film’s screenplay. This time around, Aibel and Berger were able to come up with their own story and work with a team of writers on the screenplay. There was a bevy of returning and new stars in the cast that ranged from gimmicky cameos to perfect fits. Kenan Thompson (Tiny Diamond) and Sam Rockwell (Hickory) are great as always. Still, the most important new cast members are Rachel Bloom (Barb) and Funk Trolls Anderson .Paak, George Clinton, and Mary J. Blige.
“Trolls World Tour” is this year’s “Zootopia.” Sure, with the barrage of colors and sounds emanating from the screen, there are moments you feel like you’ve been forced to mainline sugar while “A Clockwork Orange” style watching every Saturday morning cartoon at once. However, behind the bright colors and musical montages is an important story of acceptance, and how to appreciate differences while embracing similarities. It was quite frankly a surprise to find such an upfront look at racism, and even genocide, in a frenzied kids movie. That was a decision that could help the film stand out in these difficult times. With almost everyone trapped indoors to avoid the current pandemic, people are starving for content to stream, and luckily there is a nearly endless supply of material. When you can spend the length of a movie scrolling through Netflix to find the right thing to watch, each property needs something that makes them stand out. For “Trolls World Tour,” it is the cast of beloved actors and singers as well as its message. Its message is presented in a way where you know it is there, but no one is screaming message at you like “Don’t Be a Menace.” Kids won’t get some of the more profound implications, and that’s fine, but this gives parents a relatable avenue for discussions about race, which can often be tricky.
“Trolls World Tour” is bright, fun, and filled with music that will make your kids want to dance along or maybe ask what Reggaeton or yodeling is. The story is not as well-crafted as the first film. That isn’t much of a surprise given the number of new lands and characters that need to introduce in a 90-minute runtime. There isn’t enough time to give everyone proper motivations or background stories. While that is a significant hurdle, it doesn’t prevent “Trolls World Tour” from being well worth its current rental price for any family.
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