This animated sequel removes its split ends, and makes a much better hairstyle.
I don’t know what kind of good luck charm I have, because so far this year, sequels to movies I disliked have improved themselves quite considerably. I’m talking specifically about “Bad Boys for Life,” “Birds of Prey” (the “Suicide Squad” spin-off), and now, “Trolls: World Tour,” which is better than the first, much to my surprise.
Now keep in mind that Universal Studios (which now distributes Dreamworks Animation) has arranged for it to have an early digital release, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and that works out perfectly, because we need some positive energy right now. That what this sequel has, and I was disappointed in the original for lacking that.
I was concerned that it would stoop to an old “Simpsons” message about how animation is built on plagiarism, because it splices “Avengers: Infinity War” with the Disney Silly Symphony short “Music Land.” To put it bluntly, there are six different genres of music, and they’ve led various trolls to separate themselves, and each country has a music string which gives them their melodies. So think of them as the Infinity Stones Thanos coveted to wipe out half the galaxy.
This Thanos here is a rock queen troll named Barb (voiced by Rachel Bloom), who plans to collect all six music strings to eradicate all genres, except for rock. The only troll who thinks she can be reasoned with is Queen Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick), and she takes her friends Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake) and Biggie (voiced by James Corden) on her trek to stop her.
This sequel has a variety of new stars, including Sam Rockwell (using his Southern and German accents) as a yodeler disguised as a country troll; Kelly Clarkson as a centaur country troll mayor; George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, and Anderson Paak as a royal funkster family; Jamie Dornan as a jazz troll, who gives his victims an acid trip; Anthony Ramos as a techno mermaid king with rainbow arms; Kenan Thompson as a hip-hop baby troll; and Ozzy Osbourne as Barb’s mellowed elderly father.
Another weakness from the first movie, and this one keeps it up, is the fast animation, which often zips along. It often feels generic, and left me exhausted. But there are attractive characters and sequences. The best use of animation, in particular, would be a little whistle (voiced by Charlyne Yi), who moves like the background video game characters in “Wreck-it Ralph.” She’s proof that the filmmakers (including director Walt Dohrn and producer Gina Shay) have actually put more effort into developing some colorful features.
Without using the word “Disney,” “Trolls: World Tour” is in a similar sequel league with last year’s “Lego Movie 2,” which wasn’t a major box office hit, and in terms of the animation and writing, it’s miles better than “Hotel Transylvania 2” or “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” How is it possible? This continuation has high spirits, the kind we need right now, flexible voice actors (particularly Kendrick, Timberlake, Corden, Bloom, Rockwell, Thompson, and Blige), and a script more intriguing than the trailers make it appear to be.
Yes, the narrative may sound a little obvious at times, but it ends up giving kids positive messages about world peace, using its eclectic taste in music. And you also get catchy cover versions of classic hits like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” or “Crazy Train,” and even some original tunes on the side.
I still don’t know what lucky charm I have, but somehow, I was able to find things in this sequel that deems it good family entertainment.
Available for Streaming on VOD, AppleTV, Xfinity, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and Fandango Now This Friday