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Trolls World Tour review - a visual spectacle full of toe-tapping tunes | reviews, news & interviews

Trolls World Tour review - a visual spectacle full of toe-tapping tunes

Trolls World Tour review - a visual spectacle full of toe-tapping tunes

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return as the diminutive heroes that just can't stop

The world might have changed drastically in the wake of Covid-19, but thankfully those hyperactive, candy-coloured Trolls haven’t.

The world might have changed drastically in the wake of Covid-19, but thankfully those hyperactive, candy-coloured Trolls haven’t. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake are back as the delightful odd-couple, Poppy and Branch, for round two of pop-infused peppy animated adventure in the land of felt and feelings, where music can solve a myriad of problems. 

The first movie was a gleeful delight. Yes, it was slight on plot, but it possessed an infectious optimism and a message of love and acceptance. It wasn’t going to have the bosses at Pixar quaking in their boots, but it was an undeniable hit for rival studio DreamWorks and director Walt Dohrn. 

This time around, Dohrn is joined by co-director David Smith, and together they apply the same methodology, with processor-like precision, for Trolls World Tour. Like many sequels, it goes bigger and bolder, but loses some of the original’s charm in the process. Rachel Bloom as Queen Barb of Hard Rock Poppy, it turns out, is actually a queen of one Troll tribe, the Pop Trolls. Beyond the borders of her kingdom, there are also five other tribes - Classical, Funk, Techno, Country, and Hard Rock. Each possesses a magical string that gives them their power. One troll called Barb (Rachel Bloom) is queen of the Hard Rock tribe. Boasting a scarlet mohawk and fishnets, Barb has ideas of domination, and wants to conquer the musical map, declaring “One nation of trolls – under rock”. Hoping to stop her, Poppy and a reluctant Branch, along with stowaway Biggie (James Cordon), hit the road to help unite the other lands against Barb. 

Along their journey, we encounter an array of slightly cliched musical lands. There's Symphonyville, a land of harps and harpsichords and home to Gustavo Dudamel's Trollzart. Then there are The Lonesome Flats, populated by Stetson-wearing centaurs, who sing soul-searching ballads, including Kelly Clarkson’s Delta Dawn. 

When they reach Vibe City, they meet Queen Essence (Mary J. Blige) who delivers some hard truths to the peppy Poppy. In a story about the history of funk, Queen Essence argues that the answer lies not in denying differences, but accepting them. It’s hardly Inside Out levels of psychological depth, and it's on the nose, but that doesn't undercut the power of the message.

Musical medleys abound with everything from Gangnam Style to Wannabe. There are psychedelic trips and odd interludes into smooth jazz (look out for the white tigers and mullets), and methodically timed jokes for young and old to hold your attention. 

At times the delivery feels muted, and the magic of the original isn't there. But, in its best moments, there's still that giddying rollercoaster effect, and enough toe-tapping tunes to keep you grinning.

@JosephDAWalsh

Like many sequels, it goes bigger and bolder, but loses some of the original’s charm in the process

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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