By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
After a rousing success with the first Trolls film, the sort of couple Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are going on a world tour! That’s quite the date for the second outing of these happy-go-lucky music loving critters who never had a huge back story before DreamWorks Animation acquired the license. With a franchise more than 60 years old and not having consistency in the few animated takes last century, it at least sowed the seeds to what this animation studio would further.
All the puff haired critters want to do is have fun. When Poppy learns others of her kind are living elsewhere, she believes it’s time to meet and perhaps also unite the different tribes. The irony is that her nemesis, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), also has the same idea of uniting them to one sound–the world of hard rock. Her once and former king dad doesn’t disagree and has since retired from the throne. To hear Ozzy Osbourne as the the voice is perfect.
The conflict here is in what type of music will rule all troll kind? Songs like Crazy Train and Barracuda are not enough to introduce this tribe of metalheads. They didn’t build their nation (no cities really exist here) on rock-and-roll. Once upon a time, it was united to see how all of troll kind and their love for different musical styles can play together. The top six are Pop, Funk, Classical, Techno, Country and Rock, but the scholar in me wondered about Gospel, Jazz and the Blues? Technically, they developed as an offshoot from one of the dominant groups, but to see this film see rock and pop collide (as they share the same roots) felt weird.
Ultimately, this film is more about teaching kids how to love one another than live in a world in conflict. The message is wonderful and certainly needed so the next generation will not be as silly as certain governors currently handling a nation–or in what the North and South represents. The point does not even feel too heavy handed, as we can learn from the messages many a DreamWorks film carry; they often promote harmony, and how can anyone not respect that?
4 Scales out of 5