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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Trolls World Tour

Director: Walt Dohrn Studio: Universal Pictures

Review: Trolls World Tour

Not to be confused with another film that had the similar title called Troll 2, which was a comedy-horror film released in 1990 and was directed by Claudio Fragasso. Trolls World Tour is a musical, animated film that takes place right after the first film, produced and released in 2016. DreamWorks animator and director Walt Dohrn steps in to helm this fun-filled, colorful animated feature based on the famous doll brand by Thomas Dam, and with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake returning to their lead-role duties, along with a duo of writers, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The film is originally scheduled to be released in theaters this month, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the film is instead released on digital for home entertainment.

Trolls World Tour mainly focuses on Poppy, now queen, adjusting to her new role as the ruler of the pop Trolls after the events of the first film, along with her friend, Branch. However, she is forced to leave her Trolls village when she receives a message that invites them to a Rock N Rock Trolls party, led by Rock Troll leader named Barb (voiced by Rachel Bloom), where all different types of music-Trolls came to unite.

With the colorful CGI animation and the musical numbers being the center of attention, Walt Dohrm’s direction tackles each task of adopting every musical scene and numbers to rehash the livings and the integrity style of the 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s. One of the main goals Dohrm and his team are trying to complete is to craft a film that takes a straight aim towards Rock-N-Roll fans and musical fans out there. Not only the story, but they additionally knew what are the pros and the cons to this musical feature in order to get kids to come and watch. On the inside, the director and the crew really knew that even though they overworked by putting much effort into adding and placing musical animation sequences into certain time-pacing parts, they still had a good time producing this film just like how they did in the first film. It’s like repeating and following the same recipe to avoid any disastrous results.

The musical numbers from the film (provided by Timberlake, Kendrick, the rest of the cast, and the composer Theodore Shapiro) really capture the sparkle and an emotionally, touching message about evoking friendship and not just music parties for fun. Music is the way to learn about what music does and what friendship does to anyone’s minds. Even when the film is focused on sing-along songs, some scenes and the characters' singing parts on screen have engender multi-colored, slapstick energy coming from different music-genre Trolls that fulfills the need that falls into the retro-levels of American Idol, West Side Story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and other musicals people enjoyed.

While Kendrick and Timberlake share the spotlight together, the film also consists of returning cast of James Corden, Ron Funches, and Kunal Nayyar while the new cast of actors consist of Rachel Bloom, Ozzy Osbourne, American Idol star Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, and Kenan Thomspon with the director Walt Dohrm taking over Jeffery Tambor’s duties of voicing Poppy’s father, King Peppy, which is very strange to see when it comes to casting decisions.

Although, there are several things that are not enjoyable from the film entirely: a small numbers of returning characters receiving less screentime, not having variety of any fictional worlds to discover throughout the film compared to any Mario games, too much colors being added on every scene, the Timberlake’s song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” not been used unlike the trailer, and not having to reveal much about the origins of any music being brought into the world before Trolls came to the village(s) with the latter being very questionable to see how the flow of the plot progresses.

With the colors and the consistency present, Trolls World Tour is less ok but falls under the guilty-pleasure town and the average-film category. I didn’t hate it though, I certainly did enjoy Timberlake and Kendrick’s performance along with Sam Rockwell and Rachel Bloom as the four are what makes the film so fun to watch. The direction too, but I expect more from him when it comes to adding numbers of ingredients to the recipe that could make the film go better on a scale of A-F level. It’s a good movie for kids and maybe some adults, but nothing touches me nor brings anything special to what the film or the filmmakers have to offer. It would be a tough decision to choose which film to watch for a lovely Easter weekend and in April in general. I rather stick with the original film to make up for that.

(Review by Henry Pham)

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