Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) discover that the trolls kingdom is much larger than they think and it is divided by the type of music each area likes. Whilst Poppy is Queen of the Pop Kingdom there are also lands of funk, classical, country, techno and hard rock. When Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) of the hard rock kingdom decides to destroy all other forms of music and unite the trolls under rock Poppy, Branch and their friends must save the day and learn some life lessons on the way.
Trolls World Tour is one of the first cinema releases that abandoned its theatrical release during the coronavirus pandemic for a rent at home release. Something that those with children may have been thankful for even at the steep prices involved. Watching this film with my kids today I think it was mostly worthwhile thanks to its brisk 90 minute running time, lessons of equality and great visuals.
Let’s talk about the visuals first as I think that is probably the films strongest suit. The animation is filled with vibrant colours and glitter as per the first film but the new lands enable them to try slightly different things as well. The techno kingdom is underwater, the funk kingdom uses translucent bubbles, classical has clouds and cherub trolls, country has a western feel and hard rock has lava and leather. All of the areas feel tactile as they look like an elaborate crafted world made of wool, glitter and other products you might find in the children’s crafting boxes. Ultimately I felt it looked very cinematic in my lounge.
In terms of moralistic storytelling I also felt that the film landed on its feet pretty well. The respective music choices are essentially an analogy for racial and cultural differences and what I liked most about the message was not just that we should all get along, but that we are all different and we should embrace and accept those differences as it makes us stronger together. On a much more basic level it also made me laugh at the fact I very much would have derided some of those other music types when I was a teenager and routed for one to conquer the others!
Musically I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as the first film. Obviously here they need to cover a range of music and I was really looking forward to that, but the songs picked were quite “safe” as far as the other genres were concerned. It absolutely does what it needs to do from a family film perspective though which I suppose is the point.
All in all, I think this was a successful sequel that goes in a quite different direction than the original. Perhaps the Trolls franchise has some lungs in it yet.