Review: 'Trolls: World Tour' (2020) Dir. Walt Dohrn
The vibrant, colourful, eclectic and comedic world of the Trolls comes alive once more in a musical sequel suitable for all...
Queen Barb of the Rock Tribe (Bloom) wants to unite all the Troll tribe’s music including pop, funk, classical, techno and country. On face value, her plan sounds like it makes sense.
Queen Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) of the pop tribe venture to meet Queen Barb and help unify the Troll kingdom by bringing all the music together again for all to enjoy.
But Queen Barb is out for a far more dastardly scheme, and the entire Kingdom is in peril. It falls to Poppy and Branch and their friends Biggie (Cordon) and Hickory (Rockwell) to save the kingdom before it is too late…
Being one of the first major 2020 cinema releases affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, Universal took the brave and respectable move of putting ‘Trolls: World Tour’ straight to digital at-home rental just weeks after cinemas closed. While the film unfortunately didn’t see a global release, the fun and enjoyment can be experienced at home just as well. The perfect antidote for children looking for a new film to amuse them, and even for families to watch and come together to enjoy.
From the opening minutes of ‘Trolls: World Tour’, you are reminded why the original stood up so well with audiences young and old. The colours and textures burst from the screen with so much energy, bling and detail that you’re instantly taken into a new toe-tapping musical adventure.
Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake grab you from the start with a big musical number, full of visual gags and cute Trolls a-plenty.
Yet before all of this, we are introduced to the big baddie of the film. Not a Troll eating Bergin, but one of their own. A Troll. A Troll who wants to take over this bright, vibrant world with hard, heavy rock! It’s not the most dangerous sounding of plots, but it certainly allows this family film to become a jukebox of fun.
Poppy and Branch return for another adventure, this time traversing many different realms of the as-yet unseen Troll kingdom which is made up by different genres of music. Each realm has unique sounds, looks and Trolls which allows director Walt Dohrn and the backing of DreamWorks Animation to fully crank up the fun to max.
While the story itself is nice and simple (again, this is a kids film), it’s a familiar one. Much like Warner Brothers’ ‘The LEGO Movie’, the inclusion of many elements of the source material and different variations on the characters gives the film room to have lots of fun, and it does so in spades. From Ozzy Osbourne’s King Thrash singing ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’, bounty hunters consisting of K-Pop / reggae dance offs and Mr. Dinkles on top form, everyone here is just, well, having fun!
The animation is where ‘Trolls: World Tour’ soars as much, if not more, than the original. So much attention to detail goes into every scene and sequence, with something to see and chuckle at every few seconds. Textures, sounds and colours literally burst from each realm to represent individual personalities and tribes. The new realms allow much more variation in proceedings than we were treated to before, fusing musical genres into the style and sounds of the animation that our heroes experience. Stand-out sequences are the action packed country and western realm and the Jazz bounty hunter dream.
Being a film based on music, the pop culture references are thin, but the jukebox hits are high. With Kendrick and Timberlake leading performances, backed up by veterans of music such as Kelly Clarkson, Mary J Blige and Gustavo Dudamel, rest assured that each song and musical number has a unique touch. Not just a word-for-word remake of songs, each Troll adds a bespoke spin to their tunes relating to the story and the characters themselves, keeping things fresh and amusing and as original as possible.
And as expected, the musical numbers just showcase more screen-popping colours, textures and silly animated humour. But away from all the fun, glitter, music, candy and silliness lies the real point to all of this – the morality and theme of unity, equality and acceptance.
With one of the original Trolls, Cooper, finding his true realm after losing touch with his parents, the idea of being who you were born to be but living in unity and sharing with others echoes through the music and characters. Lots of new realms and characters mean lots of diversity, personality and morals. The musical strings that are the MacGuffin here represent a unique interest or way of life – taking them all away means taking away what it means to be, well, unique. This is what our heroes are out to do – unite everyone and live in peace, harmony and understanding. Enjoy everyone’s differences and make lots of new friends in the process.
The morality of this may go over the heads of many young viewers, but they’ll still take away a good understanding of friendship from it all.
‘Trolls: World Tour’ could be looked on initially as a lazy idea that hops from one song to another, but it’s much more than that. It uses music as a tool for both comedy and morality.
With a strong voice cast bringing a real diverse group of Trolls to life, it adds lots of new lore to the franchise without repeating anything from the original film.
With mild-emotion to balance out the wacky humour, 'Trolls: World Tour' keeps spirits high and music loud for an enjoyable 90mins of Troll-tastic entertainment.
'Trolls World Tour' is a Dreamworks Animation production