Trolls Band Together movie review: cheerful kindness, weirdified - (2024)

Since the post-WWII period, pop culture has moved in 20-year waves of decreasing, er, waviness. The 1970s saw nostalgia for the 1950s, which gave us Happy Days, American Graffiti, and Grease. In the 90s, folks were nostalgic for the 70s; hello, That ’70s Show. (Absolutely no one was nostalgic for the Great Depression 1930s in the 1950s, or ever.) But nostalgia seems to be slowing down lately: 1990s nostalgia only hit in the late 2010s, and then only very minimally, like how the sitcom Friends — not a remake but streaming reruns, basically — boomed again when the series landed on Netflix.

These damn Trolls movies are part of the slow 90s nostalgia, I guess. Like a recursive pop-culture Inception: the original troll dolls, those horrid little wastes of carbon-intensive plastic with the shocks of neon hair, were a thing in the 70s and then, as dictated by the aforementioned rules, they reappeared in the 90s. (Does anyone actually feel nostalgic about trolls doll now, or are we being forced into being nostalgic now that toy company Hasbro has shifted into film production?)

Trolls Band Together movie review: cheerful kindness, weirdified - (1)

Anyway, I was too young for troll dolls in the 1970s and too old for their nostalgic reappearance in the 90s. Which is also why I’m too old to be nostalgic for the primary thing that this third Trolls movie has going for it: nostalgia for 90s boy bands, and in particular for NSYNC, which reunites for a new song here.

Like: I lack the pop-cultural programming to care about this movie, and I am pop-culturally incapable of mustering up any interest in it. There is literally no way in which I am the target audience for this movie. (I attended the “family-fun” press screening pretty much solely because it was something to which I could take my nine-year-old housemate, whom I am always looking to score brownie points with. He loved it.) And yet, I didn’t hate it. I didn’t like it as much as I liked the second Trolls movie, in 2020, but I liked it slightly more than I liked the first one, in 2016.

It might sound like a low bar, but not hating a movie — especially a movie aimed at kids, especially in a movie environment that is programmed to drive consumeristic consumption (there is an entire f*cking Trolls movie shop on Amazon, because of course there is) — isn’t the worst, as things go nowadays. Especially when there’s a relevant hashtag that can be monetized.

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Does it even matter what is going on in the movie, at this point? Little kiddies will be drawn in by the gentle chaos of its nonstop candy-colored assault, and as that’s deployed here, it’s fine — I cannot object, as I often absolutely do with kids’ movies. It’s all genuinely good-natured, sweet without being sappy, and it’s hard to dislike.

The cruel Bergens, who like to eat trolls but were tamed by the irrepressible cheeriness of troll Poppy (the voice of Anna Kendrick: A Simple Favor, Pitch Perfect 3) in the first movie, are no longer a threat — in fact, a setpiece early in Band Together involves a royal Bergen wedding happily attended by all our new trolls movie friends. So where is the conflict here? It comes in sibling drama, as troll Branch (the voice of Justin Timberlake: Runner Runner, Inside Llewyn Davis) reconnects with his previously unmentioned brothers. They were once — also previously unmentioned — a boy band called BroZone *snort*; they broke up long ago but now they must come together to rescue one their own, Floyd (the voice of Troye Sivan: X-Men Origins: Wolverine). He’s been kidnapped by evil siblings Velvet (the voice of Amy Schumer: Trainwreck, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and Veneer (the voice of Andrew Rannells: A Simple Favor, The Intern), a pop-music duo who are stealing his singing mojo to fuel their own success. Velvet and Veneer are not trolls; I dunno what the hell they are, but they look like creepily caricatured hom*o sapiens, and fair enough: their dark magic is taking place in a nightmarish parody of Las Vegas, all of which I appreciate is redundant.

Trolls Band Together movie review: cheerful kindness, weirdified - (3)

The road trip that Branch and Poppy, now a couple(!), go on to rescue Floyd is weird and trippy and rather more strange, in a good way, than kids’ movies usually are. There’s a bit where 70s-ish disco music ignites a detour into a trippy psychedelic animation style, distinct from the modern, pleasantly blobby CGI that characterizes most of the movie. (There’s so much music here, mostly of the jukebox-mashup variety, which is kinda nice but also is so all over the place that it feels like an auditory assault.) There’s a stop at an abandoned troll theme park that is visually grim but also forcefully cheery as Poppy rather bizarrely meets a long-lost sibling of her own, Viva (the voice of Camila Cabello: Cinderella); it’s a plot sidetrack feels shoehorned in so that Poppy has something do besides support Branch, and I suppose it’s good that at least the filmmakers recognized that a female character needs to do more than bolster the male protagonist? Maybe the best weird thing is the strange living RV that the gang uses on their journey: it’s like a giant worm (on a troll scale) that looks like a Studio Ghibli escapee, but happy to be in the troll world, I guess?

I admit that I have been defeated by this odd franchise. I appreciate its dedication to nonstop weirdness. I am disappointed that there’s no song anywhere near as good as the incredibly catchy and danceable “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the first Trolls movie. 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. And good on it.) In a world, our world, in which brand names have been yoked to “entertainment” in the dubious cause of increasing corporate profit, these silly Trolls movies have managed to, at the very least, not be actively offputting about it.

see also:
Trolls movie review: you can’t stop the cute
Trolls: World Tour movie review: a cinematic Rubicon by dint of pandemic coincidence

more films like this:
Yellow Submarine [Apple TV]
Sing [Prime US | Prime UK | Apple TV US | Apple TV UK | Netflix UK]

Trolls Band Together movie review: cheerful kindness, weirdified - (2024)


Is Trolls Band Together appropriate for kids? ›

Content that may disturb children

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

Is Trolls Band Together bad? ›

Critics Reviews

It's the best of the three [Trolls films]. Content collapsed. Though “Trolls Band Together” mercilessly beats its familiar, tired message about the importance of family into the ground, it's still surprisingly watchable with plenty of voice and singing talent.

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 worth it in 3D? ›

So great in 3D and just worth watching. I loved the new character besides trolls. I honestly don't even know what are the two brother and sister singers Velvet and Venner were. I just didn't like is that I realized that I think that Branch doesn't even tell his brother that their grandma died.

Is Trolls Band Together ok for a 4 year old? ›

Inappropriate adult jokes and confusing plot line

Even if young kids won't understand the references. The plot line is also convoluted and confusing for younger children. The musical numbers make it watchable. 11 people found this helpful.

Do Poppy and Branch have a kid? ›

After bringing happiness, the trolls and bergens lived in peace and harmony, Queen Poppy and Branch gets married and has a beautiful daughter named Esperanza (it means hope) who is not like...

Does tiny diamond say the f word? ›

One of the character is referred as a "succubi". Tiny Diamond says "Oh f--" but the swear is fully bleeped out with a black line across his mouth aswell.

Why is Trolls Band Together so good? ›

“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.

Why did Spruce change his name to Bruce? ›

"Spruce" isn't commonly used as a personal name, hence the shift to "Bruce". His currently preferred name Bruce is also connected to nature, as some of its definitions define it as thick bushes.

What is the moral of Trolls Band Together? ›

Themes include teamwork, communication, empathy, friendship, and loyalty, and there are strong messages about asking for help and listening to and being honest with your family and loved ones.

Is there a scene at the end of Trolls Band Together? ›

So, do you need to stick around after Trolls Band Together? Keep reading to find out if you need to wait for a post-credits scene… We can confirm that Yes, there are end credits scenes during Trolls Band Together, so make sure to stick around to watch them!

Why is Poppy from Trolls pink? ›

Poppy's design was intended to have pink hair from the start, and remained this color in all concepts. The design itself varied from an older, 1980s/1990s Good Luck Troll-like appearance to the final look in Trolls.

Is Barb from Trolls a girl? ›

Barb is the rebellious leader of hard rock. She's a fierce-looking Trolls queen, with the strength and grace—as well as the attitude and swagger—of a rock goddess.

Is Poppy from Trolls a girl? ›

Queen Poppy is the current Queen of the Pop Trolls, Peppy's youngest daughter, and the female protagonist of the DreamWorks Trolls franchise.

Is NSYNC in Trolls 3? ›

NSYNC also made a cameo at the end of the film as Kismet, the band Branch joined after BroZone disbanded. Kismet included Ablaze (Joey Fatone), Hype (JC Chasez), Boom (Lance Bass) and Trickee (Chris Kirkpatrick).

Why is Trolls Band Together rated PG-13? ›

The MPAA rating has been assigned for “some mild rude and suggestive humor.” The evaluation includes a few kissing scenes, a few flirting scenes, brief Troll nudity, many scenes of a Troll being locked in a jar and slowly losing his color and looking weak, we hear and see a shadow puppet reenactment of ...

Is trolls appropriate for a 10 year old? ›

The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board rating indicates that “this program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.” The evaluation includes frightening encounters between humans and giant trolls that cause destruction and death with little ...

What is the message 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.

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