Trolls Band Together | Review by: Amanda Guarragi
The Trolls films have been entertaining to watch because of the musical numbers and vibrant colours that come with the Troll territory. Trolls and Trolls World Tour are two animated features that feel different because of the song choices and the fun adventures the characters go on. Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) have great voices and perform unique mash-ups of iconic songs while they journey to different territories within the kingdom. Along the way, they meet new characters and sing even more songs with them. The Trolls films have always been about accepting everyone no matter their differences, and they unify the kingdom through songs. Poppy and Branch are two sides of the same coin, but because of their life experiences, they see the world through different perspectives. That’s also what made their relationship worth watching in both films.
In Trolls Band Together, co-directors Walt Dohrn and Tim Heitz focus on Branch and his childhood. When Branch was a baby, he was in a boyband called “Brozone” with his four older brothers. Since he was the youngest, no one considered his ideas, and they all looked out for themselves. After one argument, his brothers dispersed and “Brozone” was no more. Baby Branch lived with his grandmother and found his way. In the present day, Poppy catches Branch listening to an old “Brozone” record, and she connects the dots. It isn’t until Branch’s brother Floyd (Troye Sivan) is kidnapped that his brothers come together to save him from evil pop stars Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells). The two of them are stealing the talent from Floyd through a magical perfume bottle with a diamond casing that only the perfect harmony can crack through. The story is straightforward, but unfortunately, it becomes messy because of the additional characters added.
The story does begin with Branch, but of course, Poppy has to join him on this adventure. This is where the film falters. For everyone to be in the same place at the end of the film, they had to find a way for Poppy and Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) to have a purpose on this road trip. Poppy had become overbearing, and the side story of her finding her long-lost sister, Viva (Camila Cabello), was out of convenience. Even Bridget’s honeymoon crossing over with locations that Branch and Poppy stopped by felt repetitive. The middle of this film felt messy. It dragged because of the constant shift in focus from one character to the next. Branch should have held the spotlight because he was reuniting with his brothers, but that wasn’t the case. The theme of loving your family members no matter the disagreement or how much time has been lost is a beautiful sentiment, but it was not executed well. This would have been a much stronger film if the focus was just on Branch reuniting with his brothers.
The one thing that was massively disappointing was the *NSYNC reunion. That was the source of marketing for this film. Yes, they made a song together after 20 years apart, and their reunion was underwhelming. Even though there were plenty of boyband references, which were quite funny, the humour also wasn’t strong enough. The saving grace who kept the momentum going was Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson). The magic from the two other Trolls films seemed to have disappeared in this one. There were only three musical numbers, and the medleys were cut short. It would have been nice to have the members of *NSYNC voice Branch’s brothers because that was the assumption from the start. And when Branch didn’t sing with his brothers, it became evident that they were not voiced by Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez and Joey Fatone. Trolls Band Together was the weakest entry in the trilogy and it’s unfortunate because the other two films were a joy to watch.
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