Review by Camden Ferrell
Trolls World Tour is the animated sequel to the 2016 predecessor, and it is one of the first major theatrical releases to debut on demand while theaters are closed. While this movie hits several familiar beats, it’s a harmless and toe-tapping movie that improves upon the original.
In this movie, Poppy and Branch learn that there are other troll tribes dedicated to different genres of music. Together, they go on an adventure to stop Queen Barb of the Rock Trolls from taking over all of the other tribes. This is a fun premise that has more room to play around with its musical premise more than the original, and it’s partly why it’s a better film.
Like the first film, this movie is heavily aimed at young children, and this can be seen clearly in its writing. The jokes aren’t complex or layered, but they’re funny enough on a superficial level. There are some great visual gags that will appeal to all ages, but it’s fairly formulaic for the most part. Thanks to the return of Walt Dohrn as director, the film still retains some of the comedic style and timing of the original while also trying to build onto that humor.
The voice acting is pretty great throughout. Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) does another fantastic job as Queen Poppy. She gives such a positive and infectious performance that is balanced very well with her amazing singing voice. Justin Timberlake also returns as Branch, and while his performance isn’t as great as Kendrick’s, it’s still very solid. This film features newcomers such as Rachel Bloom as Barb and Sam Rockwell as Hickory, and they both give really great performances as well.
The music in this film is what one would expect. It’s a silly jukebox musical that features many popular songs. There is some variation in genre which prevents the movie from getting repetitive, and it will more than sufficiently entertain families and young children. The more prominent role of music in this film makes it more energetic than the first, and it allows the film the avoid any significant lulls.
At the heart of this film is a not so subtle metaphor for racism and acceptance. The movie forces this theme heavily, but it is done with the best intentions. It can often feel like it doesn’t trust the capabilities of its audience, but it’s somewhat excusable considering the film’s very young target audience. It’s a completely unobjectionable message that will be great for kids even if it’s something that’s been done before.
This may not entertain most adults, but it’s a harmless film that is short, fun, and very musical. It fixes a lot of the problems with the first film, but it also retains a lot of its familiarity. This sequel doesn’t do anything original or new, but fans of the first film will find lots to love in this new film.
Trolls World Tour doesn’t always hit the mark, but it has enough energy and optimism to overcome its faults. Of all the new movies on demand to watch, this is easily the most family friendly even if it isn’t the best.
Trolls World Tour is now available for rent on demand.