Trolls Band Together is the third instalment in the series from DreamWorks Animation, the hitmakers behind last year’s Christmas animated juggernaut Puss In Boots : The Last Wish and countless other animated classics. This time around, the filmmakers go harder into Millenial nostalgia, well aware that this generation of boy band-loving teens are now parents and by leaning hard into the music of this time, make this the ultimate family film everyone can enjoy.
This threequel focuses on Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake), who we discover was a boy band star as an infant in Brozone with his four brothers. After an on-stage accident while trying to achieve the “perfect harmony” the band splits, leaving baby Branch all alone to look after his grandmother. There is a fantastic bit about quoting the different boybands of the 90’s and early 2000’s into one sentence (the writers get an extra nod for working in the short-lived boy band 2gether).
Cut to the present day, the wedding of Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) and King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has united the Trolls and the Bergens. Things don’t go to plan and their wedding is crashed by one of Branch’s long-lost brothers John Dory (Eric Andre) who tells Branch that his brother Floyd (Troy Sivan) has been captured by pop duo Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Ranells) the duo has no talent and are vaping the talent of the Trolls to maintain their status as their biggest pop stars alive. The brothers need to reunite and achieve the perfect family harmony to break Floyd out of the diamond-encrusted prison.
Along the way, we are introduced to a new group of Trolls, one of the new trolls Viva (Camilla Cabello) who has a surprise connection to Poppy and the King; while very sweet, it is reflected in the line from Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thomson) “Does anyone else have a secret family member?” It’s a great way to make light of what otherwise appears as a ridiculous situation. It’s little winks like this that keep it fun for adults while the kids have a great time.
The animation style is reminiscent of the two previous films, with some quality rendered CGI with plenty of colour and 3D rendered glitter. The animators kick things up a notch when the Trolls go into “Turbo mode” and blend some truly psychedelic 2D animation. It’s this level of care and attention given to these projects that make them stand out from the crowded animated family movie marketplace.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible music and performances from each cast member. Covers of pop hits like 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, Push It by Salt-N-Pepa, and We Are Family. It’s a shame that the new N’Sync song Better Place, explicitly made for this film, feels like a bit of an afterthought, offering little to the film itself.
Whatever drugs these animators and writings are taking, I’ll have all of them! The amount of colour, vibrancy, imagination and love put into this film is astounding and deserves to be celebrated. Trolls Band Together does a fantastic job of lifting the franchise after the disappointing previous instalment World Tour. By focusing on a story that entertains young and old, while infusing some classic pop songs and some truly gorgeous animation, Trolls Band Together delivers another Dreamworks classic that looks spectacular on the big screen.
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