After the mega-success of Pharrell Williams song 'Happy' tied to the juggernaut 'Despicable Me 2', we have a new kids' films trope. The movie tie-in song had returned is a big way, but of course, for every mega-success there's a tone of flops. Britney Spears gave her voice to 'Ooh La La' for 'The Smurfs 2', both Rihanna and J-Lo penned songs for DreamWorks 'Home', Meghan Trainor was 'Better When I'm Dancing' for 'Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie', and even Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande teamed up to give us some 'Faith' in 'Sing'. While most of these songs where fine, none broke out onto the pop charts like 'Happy' did - until the DreamWorks released 'Trolls', and Justin Timberlake just 'Can't Stop the Feeling'.
After defeating the Bergens, the Troll's village is safe once more and Poppy (Anna Kendrick, 'A Simple Favour', 'Pitch Perfect' franchise) is getting used to her new role as Queen when they get a mysterious invitation. Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom, 'The Angry Birds Movie 2', TV's 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend'), leader of the Rock Trolls, has invited all six of the different Troll lands - funk, country, techno, classical and, of course, pop and rock - together again. Poppy reunites with Branch (Justin Timberlake, 'Inside Llewyn Davis', 'In Time') and Biggie (James Corden, 'Peter Rabbit', 'Cats') and sets out to find all these types of music - but they soon learn that Barb has other plans, she wants to destroy all music and only have rock. Now, it's a race to save all the music strings or music will be gone forever.
The first 'Trolls' was a surprising success; it was a simple charming kids' film that, at times, was a huge acid trip. My biggest complaint about it is the musical nature of the film felt downplayed, but the music was good. Anna Kendrick, as she always does, shines and brings so much energy to the film. She is so good with delivery, and it's those smaller "throwaway lines" that really stand out. I'm still laughing at the way she delivers "much shame" at one point in the film. While I really enjoyed the first film, the second entry in the 'Trolls' franchise does everything a good sequel should do and opens the world of the Trolls wide open, creating another enjoyable ride with stunning animation and a fun band of characters.
The animation, while never as trippy as the first film, presents the colourful world of 'Trolls Worlds Tour' as a beautiful animation feat. With the new worlds, we get to experience whole new colour palates and designs. While they still fit the 'Trolls' ascetic, each music genre is represented in a way for kids to easily understand what genre they are while still standing out and looking unique. Each of the lands is themed to their represented genres, and looks really good. DreamWorks does get a bad rap for some cheaper animation, but when they care about a project you can see the love in the animation, and 'Trolls World Tour' has a lot of heart behind it and it shows.
On the note of music, because 'Can't Stop the Feeling' was so goddamn successful, there's much more original music this time around. Most of the songs are original, with Timberlake writing four of them. The mash-up of pop songs is still there; weirdly we get one with 'Wannabe'/'Who Let the Dogs Out'/'Good Vibrations' - sounds good so far, but then they also add 'Party Rock Anthem' and... 'Gangnam Style'. It's 2020 - who is this for. 'Gangnam Style' is not a song that is looked on nostalgically, but for the most part, 'Trolls' is good with picking which pop songs they use. It's also weird because this song is used to show country trolls what pop music is like, and is easily the worst song in the movie. 'Just Sing' is honestly a phenomenal song and really powerful moment in the film. It's an anthem for togetherness and acceptance, and the scene itself is really well-executed; the way they use all the different genres is nice. The big single they are pushing is 'The Other Side', which is fine but it's basically 'Can't Stop the Feeling' 2.0.
DreamWorks does get a bad rap for some cheaper animation, but when they care about a project you can see the love in the animation, and 'Trolls World Tour' has a lot of heart behind it and it shows.
While the film is less musical than the first - strange how is film is about six different genres - the film's story and overall message, while similar to the first, is stronger and more powerful. Teaching kids - and a lot of adults - the message of acceptance is important and can't be stressed enough. When the six genres of Trolls come together to perform 'Just Sing', I'm not going to lie to you, I got teary. I'm a sucker for a musical moment, and this is an extremely powerful one. Even if you're not a musical fan or 'Trolls' is a little too childish for you, if you have a young person in your life I think its really important for them to see 'Trolls World Tour'. Not only is it a really fun adventure with colourful characters and a kick-ass female lead, but the film's ultimate message is something that should be sung from the rooftops.
The 'Trolls' franchise could have been another cheap brand name recognition film, like 'The Grinch' or the upcoming 'Scoob!', but when you have a team that cares about the project at every level, you end up with not only a fun kid's film, but one with a powerful message.