'Trolls: World Tour' covers big themes, but the music is still the saving grace
Everything seemed great in the world of "Trolls" at the end of the 2016 picture, but like most sequels, a new problem comes around the corner in this next installment.
The lore of this film series is expanded on here, as the movie reveals that the "Trolls" featured in the first picture are only one type of troll, which happens to be the Pop Trolls. The other types represent different kinds of music, including country, funk, techno, classical and rock. The movie kicks off with Rock Trolls invading other territories and essentially taking them over, with the plan of ultimately making rock music the dominant genre.
This is where the two main characters from the last movie, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) come in. Poppy is the new Pop Trolls Queen and upon learning the threat of the Rock Trolls, decides to unify all the other genres.
"Trolls: World Tour" does feature a story that surpasses the first film, although that's not exactly the highest bar. Still, focusing the story on the world of the trolls and introducing different types in this picture works better than the protagonists having to deal with some ogre-like creatures in the original movie.
While "World Tour" features a bit of a stronger story, though, it's still rather formulaic as a whole. The character arcs between the two main characters is pretty obvious, while the eventual outcome is rather apparent. The whole tale doesn't compare to some of DreamWorks Animation's other productions such as the "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Kung Fu Panda" series.
As a result, the themes featured here through metaphorical ways to touch on race and cultural appropriation, feel somewhat glossed over.
As far as characters are concerned, the two leads, Poppy and Branch are energetic enough and have a fun back-and-forth going on, but the supporting trolls here are rather forgettable. All of the other trolls are basically stereotypes of the music they represent, country music trolls for example look like centaurs and all have southern accents.
What helps the movie out, and what will really satisfy most audiences, are the musical numbers. The animation really does look good here, with a lot of color and vibrancy. There's a ton happening on screen, and it helps that the music is pretty catchy, too, despite mostly being covers of existing songs.
Overall, "World Tour" has really colorful animation and fun music making it worth a family watch. Yet, it has enough flaws to where one should wait until the price drops in a few months. 2.5 out of 5.