Perspective: The problematic message at the center of ‘Trolls Band Together’ (2024)

“Trolls Band Together” is the third installment in a series that turns familiar toys from the 1990s into a pop music party.

The first film was an extended music video for Justin Timberlake’s single “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” The latest entrant is the same for ‘N Sync’s reunion single, “Better Place,” which is worth adding to your Saturday morning chores playlist.

“Trolls Band Together” is engaging, bright and colorful for the kids. And for their adults, it offers beautiful animation, a well-voiced cavalcade of minor comedic characters (Kenan Thompson’s Tiny Diamond is a standout) and a killer soundtrack. I’d be happy to take my kids to see it if I weren’t worried about what morals they’d pick up from the story.

The film is meant to be about the power of family togetherness. In a prologue, we learn that Branch (Justin Timberlake), the protagonist from our first two films, was in an Osmond-esque family boy band before he and his brothers broke up and went their separate ways.

Cut to today, pop sensation Velvet (Amy Schumer) has convinced her brother Veneer (Andrew Rannells) to trap one of the brothers in a diamond cage that can steal his talent and allow them to be famous. The other brothers reunite to save him and sing the “perfect family harmony,” the only thing that can break the cage.

The “perfect family harmony” is referenced so often that it becomes a running joke. But there’s no questioning that the film wants to be about the importance and power of family.

If the film was content to be about restoring family bonds to rescue a brother, it would be a light, fun, easy-to-digest family film. But it also includes a problematic message about cutting family ties.

“Trolls Band Together” is far from the first children’s film to explore the theme of family bonds. “Coco,” for example, included the message, “We may have our differences, but nothing is more important than family.” “Lilo and Stitch” said, “Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

But, in “Trolls Band Together,” the overarching sentiment is that families can indeed be left behind. One part of the dialogue says that you knew who I was, “but you asked me to change anyway. That’s not OK, even for family.”

This comment comes near the end of the film, when Veneer has a change of heart and rejects Velvet, not because of her fraud, kidnapping or violence, but because she didn’t accept him for who he was. Family isn’t fundamental here. It’s discardable based on whether or not it meets your present needs.

This dialogue brings to mind larger questions about boundary-setting and under what circ*mstances one should cut out family members. These aren’t trivial questions, nor are they one-sided. They’re questions that Branch also faces. Throughout the film, he deals with his reputation as “the baby” of the group. When the brothers reunite and begin practicing, he is again treated like the baby.

With a huff, he leaves the group to rescue his brother on his own. “Don’t let anyone stop you from being the you, you are.”

In the film’s climax, the remaining brothers feel guilty for their behavior and join back up with Branch. They never reckon with his decision to leave. Family is important, the message seems to be, but it’s more important to do whatever you feel like doing, and if your family is worth being with, they change for you.

The hypocrisy is lost in the film since everyone is their own protagonist. Everyone must change for everyone else, except you. Don’t let anyone tell you to change.

The film is breezy fun for the whole family — as long as you don’t stop dancing to the incredible soundtrack long enough to wonder what messages the film is actually highlighting.

“Trolls Band Together” opens wide on Nov. 17, 2023.

Perspective: The problematic message at the center of ‘Trolls Band Together’ (2024)

FAQs

What is the message of Trolls Band Together? ›

Characters say things like "family is always worth it," or that siblings are "friends who never leave you." A cautionary message is present in the fact that Velvet and Veneer value fame and fortune above all things, including morality and authenticity.

What is the controversy with Trolls movie? ›

If the film was content to be about restoring family bonds to rescue a brother, it would be a light, fun, easy-to-digest family film. But it also includes a problematic message about cutting family ties. “Trolls Band Together” is far from the first children's film to explore the theme of family bonds.

What is the plot of Trolls Band Together? ›

Is Trolls Band Together kid friendly? ›

Content that may disturb children

Other than the violent scenes noted above, there's nothing of concern in Trolls Band Together for children aged under 5 years. Other than the violent scenes noted above, there's nothing of concern in Trolls Band Together for children aged 5-8 years.

What is the message of Trolls? ›

“Trolls” is a delightful movie about happiness, loyalty and love. Its theme is that happiness isn't found in outward circ*mstances or in material things, but from within. It incorporates delightful characters such as Poppy (Anna Kendrick), a princess, Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), and Branch (Justin Timberlake).

What is the moral value of the Trolls? ›

Educational values found in Trolls movie (2016) are value of being consist of bravely, peacefulness, responsibility, honest. Values of giving consist of religious, tolerance/respect, social care, kind & friendly. (2.) Those values are reflected by the six characters in the movie.

Is Trolls Band Together woke? ›

But I love that it depicts a world in which strange beings of all provenance — trolls, ogreish Bergen, and many others — have learned to live together in harmony while respecting one another's differences. (The Bergen wedding scene is festooned with rainbow flags. Yup: this movie is Woke.

Is Trolls Band Together a flop? ›

Box office. Trolls Band Together grossed $103 million in the United States and Canada, and $106.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide gross of $209.5 million.

Is Trolls appropriate for kids? ›

Trolls features scary creatures like the Bergens and large spiders. It also has scenes that show the trolls being chased and eaten. Therefore, it might be too scary for children aged under five years, but children over this age and their parents are likely to enjoy it.

Are Poppy and Branch dating? ›

Branch is Poppy's boyfriend, and the male protagonist of the DreamWorks Trolls franchise. He's a member of The Snack Pack, having joined the group since the events of Trolls and acting as its second-in-command after Poppy.

Who is the villain in Trolls Band Together? ›

Velvet is the main antagonist of Trolls Band Together. She is a Mount Rageon fake pop-star who captures and tortures Trolls to gain their talents and become famous.

Does Trolls Band Together have bad words? ›

"Suck," "god," one audible use of the phrase "good as hell" in the song "Let's Get Married," and bleeped uses of the "s-word" respectively. Some uses of "hell" in songs in an early scene. One of the character is referred as a "succubi".

What is the moral of Trolls Band Together? ›

The central message in “Trolls Band Together” is that love is all around us. Through the movie's explorations of both chosen and biological families, this moral hits home.

Is trolls 4 confirmed? ›

In an interview, it was confirmed in regards to the comment from Justin Timberlake that this will not be the last movie as there is a never-ending source material for the franchise. In a later interview, it was confirmed that a Trolls 4 is highly possible if wanted.

What is the idea of Trolls? ›

Trolls were often described as strong, evil and dangerous giants. They were ugly, with large noses and eyes "the size of plates", and often had several heads or just one eye. Gods and humans were their enemies, and they were angered by the “smell of Christian blood”.

Is Trolls Band Together worth watching? ›

Trolls Band Together is pretty much just like the other Trollses. It's a perfectly acceptable 90 minutes of middling entertainment... This animated fever dream does serve as the prefect excuse for NSYNC to reunite. This third installment is more clever and funny than you would expect and actually soars musically.

What are the Trolls with hair stuck together? ›

Satin & Chenille are supporting characters in Trolls, having appeared throughout the franchise ever since. They're a pair of identical twins conjoined by the hair, and are both members of The Snack Pack. They also appeared in a non-speaking role in Trolls: Holiday in Harmony.

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