The third installment of DreamWorks' "Trolls" series, much like its predecessors, captivates audiences with its undeniable charm. Designed to enchant not only the children but also their '90s-raised parents with nostalgic references and tunes, "Trolls Band Together" strikes a balance between sweet and engaging. The movie, running just shy of 90 minutes, pleasantly surprises even those parents who anticipated a mere cinematic obligation.
Originating from the once-popular fuzzy-haired dolls, the "Trolls" franchise first emerged in 2016, introducing a vibrant world led by Anna Kendrick's character, Poppy. In the initial film, Poppy saves her community from the Bergen ogres and starts a journey with Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake. The sequel, "Trolls World Tour," expands the universe to include various musical troll tribes, with Poppy once again leading the charge for harmony and inclusion. This third film, however, acknowledges that sometimes cheer and good examples aren't enough to sway certain adversaries.
In each film, the use of well-known pop songs, combined with the colorful troll world, adds a layer of delight. In "Trolls Band Together," we're treated to a backstory involving Branch and his boy band, BroZone, playfully referencing Timberlake's own *NSYNC days. After a disastrous performance in their youth, the group disbands, leading to a poignant reunion years later when they must rescue their brother Floyd, trapped by the talent-stealing pop duo Velvet and Veneer.
The journey to save Floyd introduces us to vividly imaginative worlds, each distinct in animation style, from traditional candy colors to psychedelic visuals. This creative choice echoes "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," yet "Trolls Band Together" carves its unique path, ensuring the visual storytelling complements the narrative's adventure and wonder.
The film's humor caters to all ages, with nods to classic bands and a scene reminiscent of Scooby-Doo. New characters like Camila Cabello's Viva add depth, paralleling Poppy's optimism with her own fears stemming from past traumas. As the story unfolds, themes of sibling bonds, accountability, and overcoming fears are beautifully woven into the narrative, alongside a soundtrack that blends nostalgic hits with fresh tunes.
Supporting characters, such as Zosia Mamet's Crimp and Kenan Thompson's Tiny Diamond, contribute to the film's warmth and humor. "Trolls Band Together" creates an inviting world of music, kindness, and community, where familiar songs like “9 to 5,” “Push It,” and “We Are Family” resonate with a sense of comfort and joy. This latest "Trolls" adventure proves to be an enchanting 83-minute journey for audiences of all ages, filled with music, laughter, and heart.