Even though the Trolls films are billed as family fun, I’ve loved the first two films because they are hopeful and all about friendship. I also love the music in the movies. With the third film featuring a reunion by NSYNC, I was optimistic that this film would carry on the same vibe and be as fun to watch. While the story was simpler in some respects, it is all about the music and completely fun.
“Trolls Band Together” is the sequel to Trolls World Tour, directed by Walt Dohrn, co-directed by Tim Heitz (in his feature directorial debut), and written by Elizabeth Tippet. In the film, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are finally a couple, celebrating the marriage of their friends Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) and King Gristle Jr. (Christopher Minz-Plasse) but Branch has been keeping a secret from Poppy. During the wedding, Poppy learns that not only does Branch have brothers, he was once part of a boy band called Brozone. Branch’s oldest brother John Dory (Eric André) needs him to help rescue their brother Floyd (Troye Sivan) who is being held by wanna-be pop stars Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells). In order to save him, they must put the band back together, locating brothers Clay (Kid Cudi) and Spruce (Daveed Diggs). They are also aided by Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson), troll Viva (Camila Cabello) and Crimp (Zosia Mamet), an assistant to Velvet and Veneer.
The element that I loved the most was the music. From classics to original music, the film is all about the music. I love how some of the music deliberately emulates the style of boy bands, satirizing the genre a bit but also highlighting what makes the songs popular. One of the highlights of the film is the song ‘Better Place’ by NSYNC. The song is spectacular. Between it and music that makes you want to dance, the film truly sells the fun and joy of music.
While the story is fairly straightforward, it does focus on some important messages including that family doesn’t have to be perfect to be loved. It is the imperfections that make us love our family in fact. The film also focuses on staying true to yourself and having fun with what you love, not allowing the desire for perfection ruin what you love. It does a great job of sending up boy bands a bit and the music industry in particular, especially with the pop stars Velvet and Veneer. The story is joyful and families will love the focus on fun and love.
The performers do a great job. They stick with what has worked, especially Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake but they do get to show the evolutions in their characters, with the character of Poppy meeting her match with Viva (Camila Cabello) and Branch growing in confidence. I love their dynamic together as well. Eric André, Kid Cudi, and Daveed Diggs do a fantastic job with the humor in their roles as Branch’s brothers. Troye Sivan is warm and wise as brother Floyd. Amy Schumer and Andrew Ranells are funny and villainous as Velvet and Veneer. Zosia Mamet is a highlight, smart and funny as an assistant to the pop stars. Kenan Thompson is hilarious as Tiny Diamond. The entire cast is fun in the film.
For families and children, this film will likely hit all the right marks. What I noted is that the story is far less complex and predictable than even Trolls or Trolls World Tour. There weren’t any real surprises and the film does mostly rely on the music to sell the story. While the music is fun and upbeat, it would have been nice to have a little more story to the movie.
If you liked the other two films, you will like Trolls Band Together. The music is upbeat and sells the film, especially the music of NSYNC. The voice acting is amazing and the story is still really fun. The message of family and love is perfect and the skewering of the music industry is intriguing for the adults in the audience. I had a ton of fun watching the film and it was all about the music.
Rating: 3 out of 5 boy bands