Do you want to feel old? The Trolls the franchise is seven years old this year and carries with it a whole culture of late ’90s/early 21st century nostalgia that will seem like a million years ago to anyone under 40. The rest of us may remember it like it was yesterday; a moment when boy bands emerged at the rate of one a week, offering various versions of the “Wild”, “Sensitive”, “Sultry”, “Cute” and, inevitably, “The Most Famous to Leave and Throw the Whole” Project into crisis.
Trolls join forces treats all of this as its central thesis, which comes as a relief from two hectic predecessors, the first of which is an origin story in which trolls – the psychedelic love children of gonks and Smurfs – must save themselves from being eaten by whale-toothed creatures called Bergens. The Bergens didn’t perform very often Trolls World Tourwhich instead expanded the musical world to include Hard Rock trolls, Techno trolls, Funk trolls, Classical trolls, Country trolls, and even Smooth Jazz trolls.
The third film is about pop trolls and the five members of BroZone, a five-piece vocal group who are about to perform their last concert, although they do not know it. There is pressure to ensure “perfect family harmony”, a musical phenomenon that can shatter diamonds. BroZone are at the height of their fame, and songs like “Girl, Baby, Baby” and “Baby, Girl, Girl” are an accurate summary of those times.
Failure is not an option: “If we’re not perfect, we’re nothing,” says the band’s unofficial leader John Dory (Eric André). Instead, the show is a disaster because Branch (Justin Timberlake), the baby of the group, makes a mistake and causes a domino effect that humiliates the entire team in front of his loyal fans. John Dory decides to end the day with the movie’s best joke: “We’re out of sync, we’ve gone from boys to men and now there’s only one direction. Time to hit the side streets.”
Time passes and while Branch is at the wedding of the Bergen monarch, King Gristle Jr., to his girlfriend Poppy (Anna Kendrick), John Dory arrives with shocking news: their BroZone brother Floyd (Troye Sivan) is being held captive by overnight pop sensations Velvet and Veneer (Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells), a sibling duo who follows Milli Vanilli’s path to stardom. But John Dory doesn’t realize it’s a trap, and when he decides to reunite the BroZone, Velvet and Fornir are rubbing their hands with glee: Using a smoothie maker invented by their assistant Crimp (Zosia Mamet), they intend to drain the trolls of all their talent.
As good as new Chicken run movie, Trolls join forces it’s a reverse heist movie, but ironically that’s not the focus here; extremely for Trolls The film has a less frenetic pace as Elizabeth Tippet’s surprisingly thoughtful script explores where the members of the BroZone are today. When John Dory, Branch and Poppy reassemble the band, hitting the road in a customized battleship, it is revealed that Spruce is now Bruce, a committed family man running a seaside resort on Vacay Island with his wife and children, while John Dory, Branch and Poppy “Fun Boy” Clay is now “Serious Boy” Clay, making a living as an accountant and sleeping in the administration wing of a disused golf course.
As soon as it’s revealed that Floyd is being held captive in a diamond perfume bottle, it becomes quite obvious where this is all going. But director Walt Dohrn makes it worth the wait and at least the visual effects are there plotespecially when someone on a tour bus presses a mysterious button that says “Hustle” – think about it The Simpsons an episode in which Bart and Milhaus go on an LSD-style trip after drinking a syrupy super-squishee – the sensory overload is enhanced by a really interesting approach to music. *NSYNC’s comeback song “Better Place” is pleasant enough, but Timberlake’s “Perfect” has a more fitting retro-modern sound, and Velvet and Fornir’s signature song “Watch Me Work” reaches a beautiful level of irony, with the lyrics saying, “If you want To be as famous as me, you have to work. There’s also some sense in the needles that portray New Edition (“Candy Girl”) and even The Bee-Gees (“Staying Alive”) as early pioneers of the boy band sound.
Since then, it’s anyone’s guess whether there will be a fourth Trolls join forces he certainly needs to exorcise all the ghosts from Timberlake’s past, and it will be hard to top the role of his former bandmates. But Trolls The series is characterized by anarchic playfulness and a solid cast — a winning formula for DayGlo that suggests it may still run ahead if its most famous ever decides to leave.