“Trolls World Tour” (2020)
Running time: 90 minutes
Written by: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Elizabeth Tippet, Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky
Directed by: Walt Dohrn
Featuring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom, Ozzy Osbourne, James Corden, Ron Funches, Kelly Clarkson, Anderson Paak, Sam Rockwell, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Anthony Ramos, Gustavo Dudamel, Kunal Nayyar, Icona Pop, Ester Dean, Flula Borg, J Balvin, Jamie Dornan, Red Velvet, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi and Kenan Thompson
Cloud Guy: “Anyhoo, what Poppy and Branch didn’t know is that their world was a lot bigger than they knew. Like, a lot, lot, lot, lot bigger!”
Recently released on DVD, Blu-ray and rental is the sequel “Trolls World Tour” (2020) the follow up to the successful toy adaptation “Trolls” (2016) which sees the return of much of the celebrity voice cast as well as the addition of many more. Whilst this new movie is just as you would expect being aimed at a younger audience this is not the only narrative at play as this was a release that originally was supposed to be a tent pole release just as the Covid pandemic took hold. As we have seen over the past six to nine months almost all big budget movies have been postponed until at least next year. However early on Paramount made a huge decision to release “Trolls World Tour” online as a rental which has created a seismic shift in possible release plans and ultimately may have signalled the depowering of cinema chains moving forward.
It may not seem immediately apparent but “Trolls World Tour” may be the most important movie released this year as it broke the lines of battle that has existed in the cold war between movie studios and exhibitors. Now while the digital release may not have garnered the kind of returns that are normally seen or expected with a major release it is the amount of money that was sent back to the studio that is most important. With a direct release online, there are fewer people to share revenue with, which means larger profits and far more quickly than currently exists. In this current environment it also means that it is safer to view at home on any device than making a trip to the movies. It can also mean. A cheaper option for consumers, with no shelling out extra for expensive food, parking and other incidentals. This in fact is not only a win for a studio but for consumers as well. As the year marches on we are seeing low box office revenues for movies such as “Tenet” (2020), “The New Mutants” (2020) and others with cinemas actually closing for the rest of the year. It is too early to tell what large-scale movies will do, wait for cinemas to reopen or take their chances with a premium online option much like Disney’s “Mulan” (2010) which was a kind of success but was not a well-received movie. The test will be when a very good high budget movie is released to a premium service and how consumers react in terms of their dollars. I cannot help but think that “Trolls World Tour” has signalled at least the reduction of the numbers of screens from a public environment to the increase of stay at home movie watching.
The story itself contained within “Trolls World Tour” is based around six Troll tribes representing musical genres Pop, Funk, Classical, Techno, Country, and Rock. Each tribe keeps a magical string that powers their specific kind of music. Queen Poppy takes their tribe’s string and tries to unite the other trolls, bringing along Branch, who is seeking to express his feelings towards her, and Biggie, a stowaway who was tempted by cotton candy. On the way to Volcano Rock City, the trio wind up in Lonesome Flats, the home of the Country trolls. After hearing how downbeat their music is, they try to cheer them up with a pop medley, but wind up in jail. Hickory, a smooth-talking Country troll, comes to their rescue and builds them a raft to take them to Volcano Rock City. On the way, they encounter Chaz, prompting Biggie to leave. Chaz is a bounty hunter sent by Barb to capture Poppy. From here the plot actually gets a little complicated and it is a wonder that the film-makers are able to tie it all up but that might be why there are so many credited writers on this outing.
It seems de rigueur these days to turn up the intensity as well as introduce new story elements with the addition of new characters in Hollywood sequels, which has been done here with “Trolls World Tour” , except instead of making it smarter or original in its devices the idea has been to make what is seen as colourful and as busy as possible. There is no doubt that movies made for children have to be aimed at them and at times some movies are either too long or just involved with their own sense of taste, so I suspect the makers of this movie wanted to dare the audience to look away. On the big screen this may have worked and played to its audience, on a small screen it just is a little tiresome although it does retain a sense of fun with its candy coloured aesthetic.
It does seem that the entire idea of this sequel is merchandising, where we we will be forced to purchase new kinds of trolls for our children to keep up with the mass media that is continually being bombarded on us and of course our little ones. It is actually great to hear that the King and Queen of the Funk Troll tribe should be voiced by George Clinton and Mary J. Blige. I loved hearing Sam Rockwell and Kelly Clarkson as Country Trolls. Of course it is hard to past Anna Kendrick and Timberlake who are so likeable, just as you’d expect.
The question is should “Trolls: World Tour” be a movie that should be watched and the simple answer is yes, it will keep the young ones enthralled with its bright colors as well as the music which is non-stop and as one wold expect nostalgia heavy. The entire movie could be more original and possibly better thought out, it could do with more to hang onto for older people but does that matter? In these times of global pandemic, political uncertainty and drawn lines this is a movie that the entire family can sit down and watch and forgot what is going on outside, at least for an hour and a half.
- Audio Commentary: Directors David Smith and Walt Dohrn are joined by producer Gina Shay to chat about the production, the plot’s themes and share anecdotes.
- Dance Party Mode: After a brief, one-minute intro, the interactive feature offers sing-along opportunities with pop-up lyrics and dance instructions.
- Trolls World Tourist Map: Cloud Guy takes viewers on an interactive tour of the six musical realms making up the Trolls Kingdom.
- Trolls World Tour Backstage (9 min): Three-part making-of featurette with cast & crew interviews and lots of BTS footage.
- Trolls Dance Academy (7 min): Compilation of the same dance instructions from the “Dance Party Mode” feature which can be enjoyed separately.
- “Tiny Diamond Goes Back to School” (4 min): New, original animated short.
- Trolls Perfect Harmony (4 min)
- Deleted Scenes (19 min)
“Trolls: World Tour” is available to rent online and to purchase as well as in physical form on DVD and Blu-ray.