Three months ago, I had no interest in watching this movie. It looked like an extremely generic animated movie for children that, in all likelihood, wouldn’t be that memorable.
However, as we’ve all seen, a lot can change in just three months.
“Trolls World Tour,” a sequel to the 2016 animated movie “Trolls,” broke a long-standing cinematic norm this weekend. The film was released both in theaters — those still open at least — and at home to rent for $19.99 from various digital streaming services. A major studio like Universal, which produced this movie, making a big feature film like this available for home viewing the same day it gets a wide-release is unprecedented. It’s never really been done before. So, naturally, I suddenly felt the need to watch “Trolls World Tour,” considering it has oddly become a historical landmark in the movie industry.
The movie surprised me. I actually found it to be consistently enjoyable. Sure, it definitely has some not-so-great moments, but as a whole I thought “Trolls World Tour” was a solid animated film that children are going to love.
The film follows the same main characters from the last “Trolls” film. Poppy, voiced by Anna Kendrick, has become queen of the Pop Trolls realm, a place in which happy trolls thrive and sing endless catchy pop tunes to each other. She’s joined by her friend Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake, who is on his own emotional journey learning what it means to be a friend. However, the happiness of these trolls is interrupted by a foreign troll named Barb, who comes from the land of Hard Rock Trolls. Barb’s goal is to travel to all Troll lands — Pop, Rock, Techno, Classical, Country and Funk — and collect all of the magical strings that are the source of their music. Barb hopes to play one intense power chord with all six of these strings to erase all genres of music in every realm except for her hard rock.
So, Barb is basically Thanos from the “Avengers” movies, except she wants musical strings instead of Infinity Stones.
While there is plenty of fun to be had in the story, it's the music in “Trolls World Tour” that makes the movie as enjoyable as it is.
Over the course of the film, Poppy and Branch travel throughout these different musical lands and encounter all sorts of genres. This makes the film’s soundtrack incredibly diverse; it ranges from rock ‘n’ roll like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and Heart’s “Barracuda” to other tunes like Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.” Other popular genres such as K-pop, reggaeton, hip-hop and even yodeling are spotlights as well. By giving all of these different musical styles a chance to shine, “Trolls World Tour” becomes a roller coaster of twists and turns in musical taste that meld together surprisingly well.
By having so many genres present, the film was able to secure some fantastic voices to round out the supporting cast. Popular musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Anderson .Paak, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Ramos, Mary J. Blige and George Clinton all pop up in this film’s characters at one point or another, and each one brings their own personality and energy to the roles they play.
The story in the film isn’t anything too crazy, but it was intriguing enough — it should be able to keep children’s attention. Everything goes down pretty much exactly like you would expect, though the film’s themes about embracing diversity instead of ignoring it are actually surprisingly resonant and well-executed for a children's film.
“Trolls World Tour” is a fun and colorful adventure that is well-suited for any child.
I didn’t really expect to enjoy this movie at all, but it managed to surprise me. The music is really what brings the film together and makes it a worthwhile experience — it’s hard not to at least hum along to the music while watching the movie.