The first Trolls film was a more significant success than almost anyone could have predicted. Powered by a strong voice cast and one of the catchiest original songs of all-time, the film nearly tripled its budget and launched the property into the stratosphere. This is despite the story being pretty basic and losing steam about halfway through. For a sequel to work, there needed to be some innovation and risks taken. With that in mind, Trolls World Tour enters the world. In these uncertain times, Universal took the unprecedented step of releasing this film straight to VOD streaming services for rental, skipping the theatrical window, a move not met with warmth from theater owners. Is Trolls World Tour a better film than the first? In a word, yes.
Trolls World Tour Synopsis
Things are good for Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick). Since the first film, she has begun to rule her kingdom as a fun-loving Troll without a care in the world, guided by her friend's Branch (Justin Timberlake), Biggie (James Cordon), and Cooper (Ron Funches). That all changes when Queen Barb (Rachael Bloom) begins to run amok throughout Troll World, which is much bigger than anyone knew. All Troll culture is built on the music you see, and the six original tribes- rock, pop, country, techno, funk, and classical, all have their own strings to represent their musical culture. Barb wants to gather all six strings and play the ultimate power chord to unite the world under the banner of rock.
Right from the start, this Trolls World Tour feels different than the first. The animation is more polished, and the environments feel much larger and lived in. It was surprising how much more enjoyable this film was than the first within the first 20 minutes. One of the best parts is how seamless the music is incorporated into the movie now. There aren't any clunky transitions like in the first film, and the original lyrics are really well done.
The Story is Very Creative
What could have been very convoluted and confusing is the idea of the six strings. Instead, it becomes Trolls World Tour's biggest strength. It is such a neat concept and approach, and it was easy to get engrossed in the story. Especially Cooper and his quest to find more Trolls that look like him. That part of the story takes an important turn about 60 minutes in. Another unexpected turn is how powerful the message of individualism and community are. The end of the film is something that quite a few people these days could stand to watch and take something from.
It's not perfect, there is a bit of a slow stretch in the middle, and a couple of the "twists" are easy to figure out pretty quickly. But there is just so much to enjoy that it is easy to forgive the film's shortcomings. The cast is excellent, again with special kudos going out to Bloom, Kendrick, Timberlake, and Funches. Sam Rockwell also is excellent as someone helping Poppy and friends on their quest hiding a secret. I have to know if he actually did his own singing.
Is it worth the $20 rental? Yes, there is plenty here for all members of the family to enjoy. Even if you are just a single person hanging out on your couch, this is a fun way to distract yourself for 90 minutes. Great animation and voice work are always a pleasurable watch, and Trolls World Tour has that in bunches. Nobody knows when theaters are going to reopen, but hopefully, when they do, we can get a chance to see Troll World on the big screen, as it was clearly intended to be.