There’s not a moment of “Trolls World Tour” that doesn’t feel like it was taken out of some other movie.
It centers around a villain and her minions needing to collect multiple assets to form a superweapon (“Avengers: Infinity War”), a case of false knowledge of history (“Frozen II”) and a main character struggling to tell someone how they really feel (pick your favorite romantic comedy).
This is all to say that it’s a run-of-the-mill kids movie. Like the obvious musical choices in the movie, like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” representing all of hard rock to J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” representing reggaeton, it serves as a baseline for young viewers who haven’t seen this a thousand times over. For everyone else, it gets tiring by the second or third song montage.
Having to save the world of Trolls once, the pure-hearted Poppy (Anna Kendrick) has ascended to the role of queen, while Branch (Justin Timberlake) struggles to admit his feelings for her.
Living in an extended world of musical Trolls, where regions are divided up by genre (techno, funk, pop, country, rock and classical music), they all seemingly work together in harmony. That is, until a mohawked, studded-leather-coat-wearing Hard Rock Troll named Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) rampages through all of their territories to steal each area’s unique totem, a colorful string that represents each musical category.
With each string she collects, Queen Barb’s mission of having hard rock music (a genre that the movie seems to think only existed in the ’70s and ’80s, with songs from Heart and the Scorpions) rule over all genres coalesces. So it’s up to Poppy and Branch to stop her.
Despite being two decades too late on the Trolls’ cultural peak, the first movie was a bright, colorful distraction of fuzzy characters, solid voicework and pop tunes. “World Tour,” while still visually dazzling, with its vivid, colorful environments, from the Pop Troll’s neon home base to the volcanic arena of the Hard Rock Trolls, is less so.
While the movie’s jumps to the different Troll environments are fun, especially its trip to the country area, with Kelly Clarkson voicing a Dolly Parton-esque cowgirl and Sam Rockwell playing a Sam Elliott-esque cowpoke, they’re weighed down by requisite song montages (including one rote medley of “Gangnam Style,” “Wannabe” and “Who Let The Dogs Out?”) and padded-out subplots, like Cooper (Ron Funches) searching for his real family.
Where “Trolls” felt like a decent distraction for kids and their parents, “World Tour” is lazy down to its core, from its rock references to most of its jokes. Ending with a “We all need to get together and sing” message, the blandest of all conclusions, sums up the amount of thought put into this.
While “Trolls World Tour” was meant to be released in theaters, instead it will come to Video On Demand on Friday. It feels like a straight-to-video affair. Save for some stunning art direction and vistas, this is one to throw on for the kids and leave the room.