Trolls Band Together
November 14th, 2023
MOVIE: TROLLS BAND TOGETHER
STARRING: ANNA KENDRICK, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, AMY SCHUMER, ERIC ANDRE
DIRECTED BY: WALT DOHRN, TIM HEITZ
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Outside of Across the Spider-Verse and Mutant Mayhem, the 2023 animation field has been nestled in the sweet spot of its intended purpose. It typically sits between a fun time for kids and something tolerable for the parents. That is what I felt walking out of Trolls Band Together. It’s the third installment in the Trolls series, with the colorful teeny-tiny characters with wild hair, and a platform for music catalogs to be mined. Groundbreaking is not what Trolls Band Together is but it does have an up-beat approach that can keep you grooving. My son had fun. I found it to be sweet- it’s not funny enough- but it serves its purpose as a stamp on the Trolls trilogy.
Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return as Poppy and Branch, singing catchy songs and overwhelming us with their love for sparkles. After the events of Trolls World Tour, they now turn their attention to Branch’s backstory. We find out he was once a member of a boy band known as BroZone. His bandmates were his four brothers, a little detail he failed to tell anyone, but they had an ugly breakup over harmonious differences. When older brother John Dory (Eric André) shows up, he’s there to alert Branch that middle bro Floyd (Troye Sivan) has been taken captive by pop-singing sensations Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells). They steal his powers for their own vocal talents and now it’s up to BroZone to reunite and save one of their own.
Narratively speaking, Trolls Banned Together moves quickly. It’s a road-trip adventure, with the trolls riding in a weird squishy dog, singing medleys with hits like “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge or “Feelin’ Good as Hell” by Lizzo while making stops for each brother along the way. While on that journey what often becomes undeniable is the catchiness of the tunes. Writers Elizabeth Tippet and Thomas Dam seem to know that it’s the music that helps energize a story that can’t help being predictable. Each stop involves Branch reuniting with his family, a few surprises for Poppy, original songs, and a new reunion hit from NSYNC.
As for the problems, Band Together is not interested in slowing down for much depth, while the jokes don’t always land. There are a few Boy Band-inspired puns that are funny once but that wears thin. The other major issue is the villains are undeniably odd. It’s hard for me to describe them other than they look like characters built out of balloons. They’re not the Bergen monsters like Poppy’s friend Bridget (voiced by Zoey Deschanel) but something else. Directors Walt Dohrn and Tim Heitz don’t seem too interested in explaining it either which fits into the entire Trolls motivation of just rolling with it.
For the target audience Trolls Band Together will get the job done. Kids will get a real kick out of it and never get bored. That speaks to something. It sits on the same level as Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, in terms of creativity and likeability. There is an undeniable charm for these movies that introduce kids to music they may not be privy to and my complaints won’t be noticed by the majority of its viewers. It has brought NSYNC back and for the nostalgic fan, they will be exactly all it takes to go see Band Together.
TROLLS BAND TOGETHER IS PLAYING IN THEATERS THIS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 17TH, 2023.
2 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady