Trolls Band Together Review – A Surprising Acid Trip of Emotional Maturity

Trolls Band Together

DreamWorks Animation’s latest chapter in the Trolls saga, Trolls Band Together, is not just another sequel; it’s a refreshing dive into the deeper currents of the Trolls universe, featuring a kaleidoscope of almost excessively vibrant colors and imagery. This animated comedy-musical, directed by Walt Dohrn and co-directed by Tim Heitz, brings a light-hearted yet surprisingly mature and insightful look into emotions and relationships, setting a refreshing new standard for family-oriented animated films.

These Tiny Musical Munchkins Grow On You

Trolls Band Together
L to R: Tiny Diamond (Keenan Thompson) and Mr. Dinkles (Walt Dohrn) in Trolls Band Together, directed by Walt Dohrn.

The narrative arc in Trolls Band Together is a significant turn for the series. Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are now an official item, evolving from friends to partners. This relationship development is handled with a delicacy that speaks volumes about the maturity infused into the script. As they grow closer, we delve into Branch’s secret past as part of the boyband BroZone, which includes his brothers Floyd (Troye Sivan), John Dory (Eric André), Spruce (Daveed Diggs), and Clay (Kid Cudi). The twist of Floyd’s kidnapping by the villainous pop-star duo Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells) sets off a rescue mission that is as emotionally charged as it is musically driven.

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The film’s dialogue stands out for its mature approach to discussing emotions and relationships while hilariously taking digs at the realities of aging and maturing. It is a brilliant blend of light-heartedness and depth, making the film appealing not just to kids but to adults as well. The conversations are far from mere fluff; they delve into meaningful discussions about handling emotions and maintaining healthy relationships, all while maintaining an accessible tone that is the embodiment of the technicolor explosion of every frame.

PG – Acid Trip

Trolls Band Together
(from left) Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Viva (Camila Cabello) in Trolls Band Together, directed by Walt Dohrn.

Visually, Trolls Band Together is a feast for the eyes. The animation is stunning, with a rich, vibrant color palette that brings every scene to life. The attention to detail in the design, coupled with brilliantly choreographed dance sequences, makes for an absorbing viewing experience. The film’s signature psychedelic flair, akin to a PG-rated acid trip, adds to its imaginative and mesmerizing world. There is also a definite acid trip that is delightful regardless of influences.

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Musically, the film is a joy-bomb. The soundtrack blends classic and new pop hits, featuring a dazzling array of musical talent including Camila Cabello, Zosia Mamet, and RuPaul Charles. The NSYNC reunion is a nostalgic touch that boosts the film’s appeal significantly, delighting fans with a trip down memory lane. The film benefits from a well-paced narrative, avoiding the pitfall of dragging on and instead keeping viewers engaged throughout its duration.

A Great Voice for All

Trolls Band Together
Branch (Justin Timberlake, center) in TROLLS BAND TOGETHER, directed by Walt Dohrn.

The voice acting in Trolls Band Together is exceptional. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake continue to bring depth and warmth to Poppy and Branch, while the addition of Brenda Song, Masi Oka, and Darren Barnet adds complexity to the narrative. Each actor transforms their character into something truly memorable. Particularly noteworthy are the voice performances of Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill, whose portrayals of the Troll children are vibrant and emotionally captivating.

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However, the film is not without its shortcomings. The overreliance on volume cranks for jump scares feels cheap and somewhat dilutes the overall horror of the narrative. While these moments are meant to enhance the suspense, they often come across as unearned and detract from the film’s otherwise consistent tone of eerie presence.

The Perfect Harmony

Trolls Band Together
(from left) Branch (Justin Timberlake), Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson), Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and John Dory (Eric André) in Trolls Band Together, directed by Walt Dohrn.

In terms of runtime, Trolls Band Together hits the sweet spot. It’s long enough to develop its story and characters adequately, yet concise enough to keep younger audiences engaged without losing interest. This balance is crucial in family entertainment, and the film manages it with finesse.

Trolls Band Together is a testament to DreamWorks Animation’s ability to evolve its storytelling. It’s a film that entertains while imparting valuable lessons about emotional intelligence and unity. For both longtime fans and newcomers to the franchise, this installment is a delightful, must-watch experience – a perfect amalgamation of fun, music, and heartfelt storytelling. Its combination of almost-too-vibrant visuals, light-hearted yet mature dialogue, and a musically driven plot makes it a standout in the animated genre.

For being refreshingly poignant in an almost aggressively cute and vibrant way, I give Trolls Band Together an 8/10.

Trolls Band Together releases exclusively in theaters on November 17, 2023.

About Trolls Band Together

Trolls Band Together

Release Date: November 17, 2023
Director: Walt Dohrn
Co-Director: Tim Heitz
Producer: Gina Shay
Genre: Animated Action-Comedy
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Camila Cabello, Eric André, Amy Schumer, Andrew Rannells, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs, Kid Cudi, Zosia Mamet, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, RuPaul Charles, Aino Jawo, Caroline Hjelt, Kenan Thompson, Anderson .Paak, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches

After two films of true friendship and relentless flirting, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are now officially, finally, a couple (#broppy)! As they grow closer, Poppy discovers that Branch has a secret past. He was once part of her favorite boyband phenomenon, BroZone, with his four brothers: Floyd (Golden Globe nominated electropop sensation Troye Sivan), John Dory (Eric André; Sing 2), Spruce (Grammy winner Daveed Diggs; Hamilton) and Clay (Grammy winner Kid Cudi; Don’t Look Up). BroZone disbanded when Branch was still a baby, as did the family, and Branch hasn’t seen his brothers since.  

But when Branch’s bro Floyd is kidnapped for his musical talents by a pair of nefarious pop-star villains—Velvet (Emmy winner Amy Schumer; Trainwreck) and Veneer (Grammy winner and Tony nominee Andrew Rannells; The Book of Mormon)—Branch and Poppy embark on a harrowing and emotional journey to reunite the other brothers and rescue Floyd from a fate even worse than pop-culture obscurity. 

Are you excited to explore the film’s unique take on emotional depth and relationship dynamics set against an eclectic musical backdrop? Did you like the first two films? Is the NSYNC reunion your main reason for watching it? Let us know what you think about Trolls Band Together on social media!

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Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.