(from left) Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Barb (Rachel Bloom) in DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, directed by Walt Dohrn.

Film Review – Trolls World Tour (2020)

Who would have ever thought that the biggest film of the year would be the sequel to 2016’s kaleidoscopic, headache-inducing, all-singing all dancing big-screen adaptation of those famous Trolls toys? Ok, one person at the back. But the fact remains that Trolls World Tour could be a watershed moment for cinema in the current climates of the coronavirus as cinemas continue to stay close amongst the continued uncertainties. But Trolls, different to the releases of The Hunt and Bloodshot in recent weeks, is the first big-budget debut on streaming platforms that was sure to bring hundreds of millions to the studios behind it.

Will their gamble pay off? And if it does, what does that mean for the next few months in the movie world whilst we are all still staying home? Well, whether it succeeds or fails is up for debate (this will be released as a “premium” rental, meaning £16 for the privilege of watching it from the comfort of your own sofa) but the fact remains that things – in more ways than one – won’t be the same once we come out the other side. But in all this madness, perhaps such a colourful, inclusive, music-infused adventure like this is exactly what the world needs right now.

(from left) Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) in DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, directed by Walt Dohrn.

Bouncing and strutting straight off of the first film, World Tour sees our favourites Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) enjoying life in their pop-infused lives when it is revealed that they are only a small part of a whole world of troll tribes, each part also living through music – classical, funk, jazz and more – but their peaceful existence is threatened when queen of the rock tribe (Rachel Bloom) wants to turn everyone into head bangers.

Hardly anything ground-breaking in terms of story and, indeed, everything is pretty simplistic but such subtleties aren’t as important as having a great time and for the most part, it is exactly that. There’s some lessons about inclusion, racism, not judging books by their covers and tolerance that we can all take heed from but it should hit home for younger audiences, in particular, in the best possible way. The cast, too, infused with some new additions like Bloom, Sam Rockwell and Kenan Thompson, add a freshness that keeps things moving quite nicely, whilst the infusions of Kelly Clarkson and Mary J. Blige, amongst others, add a new level of flamboyance and joy from the musical numbers.

As we continue to be stuck at home, whether alone, with families – both biological and extended – and friends, it is going to be a challenge for us all to stay positive and stay sane but Trolls World Tour may prove to be a welcome – and colourful – distraction for many during these darker times.

★★ 1/2

Animation, Adventure | USA, 2020 | U | Video On Demand | 6TH April 2020 (UK) | Universal Pictures UK | Dir.Walt Dohrn, David P. Smith | Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell