The trolls are back in town for the third leg of their tour. Will this tour of everyone’s favorite colorful wild-haired creatures be another smash hit?
Trolls Band Together kicks off with the tragic backstory of Branch (Justin Timberlake), who was in a family boy band with his brothers called Brozone when he was just a baby. However, due to a family spat, the group broke up and the brothers haven’t spoken to each other since.
But one of the brothers, Floyd (Troye Sivan), gets kidnapped by fame-obsessed pop stars Velvet and Veneer, who are slowly killing him by siphoning off his singing talent and transferring it to them. The only way to break him out and save him is to reunite to sing the “Perfect Family Harmony”, something the brothers could never achieve and caused the rift in the first place. Unfettered, Branch and Poppy (Anna Kendrick) go on a quest get the brothers back together for rescue mission and to do the impossible.
Trolls and fun music go together like ice cream and apple pie, but after having explored a variety of musical genres in the sequel, Trolls World Tour, this time the filmmakers focus on the subgenre of boy bands. Ultimately, it pays off and is a lot of fun. There’s plenty of millennial jokes and music puns that will make the adults laugh and the boy band plot is the perfect backdrop for a story about complex sibling relationships. Poppy even gets in on the action talking about her feelings in always wanting a sister, despite never having one.
Speaking of music, the film still features a variety of tracks from Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” to Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”, in addition to new boy band tracks like “Perfect” and “Better Place.” Since this film is more Branch-focused, we get less Anna Kendrick in this one, but we do get a sprinkling of songs from her like “It Takes Two.”
As with franchisees like this, by the time they hit their third film, the cast tends to be quite bloated and this film is no exception. The leads, Branch and Poppy, are joined on their adventure with other fan-favorite trolls like Tiny Diamond. And the filmmakers still carves out considerable time for the lovebird bergens, Grisel and Bridget, as we follow their outlandish wedding and honeymoon antics. Add on top of that, along the way we meet Branch’s brothers, the prince and princess of pop, and even more new troll friends that the movie starts to feel long in the tooth and in drastic need of a few rounds of edits.
Trolls Band Together has a lot of missed opportunities. First are Branch’s brothers, who are voiced by an incohesive troupe of actors of Eric André, Kid Cudi, Troye Sivan, and Daveed Diggs. Considering there was so much hype for bringing *NSYNC out of its 21-year retirement for the new original song “Better Place”, it is a missed opportunity to not have *NSYNC voice all brothers and sing additional new songs. Instead, they appear in a cameo as throwaway new characters during the film’s final musical number.
While the unique art style and cotton-candy visuals of the Trolls films are always a treat, in this film they get out of control. We are constantly bopped from one world to another with each having a totally different style and feel, from knock-off muppets living on an island to the claylike pop world of Mount Rageous. In isolation, the Fleisher, Betty Boop-esque art style of the sister-brother duo is interesting; however, in the Trolls universe, it feels so jarring and out of place like you are watching a different movie.
Ultimately, Trolls Band Together is toe-tapping fun, yet forgettable, family flick. The movie is at its best when what it sticks to the classics and its titular topic: trolls. Everything else just feels like elevator music.
Morgan is an Arizona native who's had a lifelong passion for animation. Her favorite animated films are Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and The Iron Giant. She earned an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University and now runs her own business where she coaches and trains entrepreneurs how to launch, grow & scale successful online businesses.