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Trolls Band Together

MOVIE | Animated song-and-dance adventure is only mildly entertaining despite its star power

DreamWorks Animation

<em>Trolls Band Together</em>
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Rated PG

DreamWorks’ high-spirited, exuberant Trolls are back, embarking on another goofy, musically inspired, psychedelic adventure in their third feature film, Trolls Band Together.

Justin Timberlake returns as Branch, a grumpy troll living among a tribe of unreasonably cheery pop-music singing companions. But Branch isn’t as grumpy as he was in previous installments because he’s now officially dating Queen Poppy, voiced by Anna Kendrick, an irrepressibly optimistic ray of sunshine. But Branch has been keeping secrets from Poppy—four secrets, in fact.

Branch used to be in a boy band called BroZone with his four older brothers, but the band broke up because pursuit of perfect musical harmony destroyed their family harmony. When Branch’s oldest brother (Eric André) shows up to report that one of the brothers has been kidnapped, Poppy tells Branch it’s time to get the band back together.

Trolls Band Together is rated PG for some mild rude humor on par with the previous Trolls movies. But a bleeped-out foul word feels out of place, and there’s also some suggestive dialogue between Poppy’s best friend Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) and her new husband Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

The script follows a straightforward plot in which the heroes must track down Branch’s other brothers, each of which has built a new life for himself post BroZone. Most of the brothers are no longer interested in boy-band fame. They just want to lead a normal life.

Joyful song-and-dance numbers punctuate the journey, but on the whole the lyrics aren’t as catchy or clever as the songs in the first film. Trolls Band Together does, however, feature “Better Place,” the first new song in more than 20 years from Timberlake’s former band NSYNC.

In true kids’ film fashion, Trolls Band Together attempts to offer some life lessons, but the results are mixed. We see the selfishness of ­villains who want fame and riches without putting in the hard work to achieve them. But the movie undercuts this message by depicting an effortlessly talented group of Trolls. The movie suggests that a quiet life outside the limelight is more rewarding than the paparazzi’s glare, but many scenes glorify the life of the pop star without factoring in the cost. By the end, Trolls Band Together settles for the bromide that everyone—whether they’re famous or not—needs friends and family.

The movie will prove somewhat entertaining for fans of the franchise, but DreamWorks phoned it in with this one, relying on celebrity voice acting and the promise of an NSYNC reunion to sell the movie rather than crafting a compelling and thoughtful narrative.

Collin Garbarino

Collin is WORLD’s arts and culture editor. He is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Louisiana State University and resides with his wife and four children in Sugar Land, Texas.



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