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Trolls World Tour
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Walt Dohrn
prd Gina Shay
scr Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Elizabeth Tippet
voices Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom, James Corden, Ron Funches, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J Blige, George Clinton, Kenan Thompson, Jamie Dornan, Ozzy Osbourne
release US/UK 10.Apr.20
20/US DreamWorks 1h31
Another explosion of music and colour, this kaleidoscope of a movie barely pauses for breath. It's jam-packed with riotously clever verbal and visual gags, outrageously lively characters and madcap action. The energy and ideas are infectious, even if the film feels thrown together, without much sense of storytelling and with few memorable musical moments. But the epic, if not quite exhilarating, climax carries a strong thematic kick.
In her rainbow-glitter domain, perky Queen Poppy (Kendrick) has inadvertently put Branch (Timberlake) in the friend zone. Elsewhere, the marauding Queen Barb (Bloom) is aggressively using heavy metal to unite the six troll kingdoms as one nation under rock. Shocked to learn that there are five other kinds of trolls, Poppy thinks hugs can save everyone. So when she, Branch and Biggie (Corden) head off to set things right, they're unprepared to witness the devastation, because Barb's efforts to unite everyone are destroying all other kinds of music.
The film is a barrage of musical snippets, while the animators deploy vividly hued textures and hairdos to play on the musical genres: pop, techno, country, rock, classical and funk, with added jazz, reggaeton, K-pop and yodelling. All of which expands the range of characters to include helpful Country Troll Hickory (Rockwell), a soulful king and queen (Clinton and Blige), a hypnotic sax-playing bounty hunter (Dornan) and, yes, Ozzy Osborne as Barb's hilariously thrashed father.
Poppy tries to cheer up sad Country Trolls with a riotous medley of pop anthems, but everyone thinks pop is appalling, partly because it steals from other traditions. Classical music gets a short shrift ("It's boring," Barb whines, "and doesn't even have words!"). The underwater Techno realm is the most visually interesting. And the volcanic, headbanging Rock land gives us the best song (Heart's Barracuda) leading to the ultimate power chord that will transform everyone into rock zombies. Which is apparently worse than being a pop zombie.
The script makes its message painfully clear: Poppy's insistence that music must make you happy is as narrow-minded as Barb's opposing view. The pointed theme is that it's dangerous to only hear what we want to hear, and that denying differences denies the truth of who we are. If we all look and act the same, there's no harmony and no one's cool. This repeated idea may be the usual "be yourself and embrace diversity" message, but that's an important one to shout, even if it comes in an explosion of rainbow glitter.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2020 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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