‘Trolls World Tour’ Sings a Song Hollywood Should Heed

The sparkly sequel offers familiar tunes in a surprisingly conservative key

Animated movies shouldn’t get the attention of free speech warriors like Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla.

Most kid-friendly films balance whimsy with old-school themes, like the power of family and friendship. And, on occasion, they pack an eco-lecture along the way

We’re looking at you, “Happy Feet 2.”

Trolls World Tour” is a little different. Yes, it hammers home the glory of diversity and being, well, different. There’s another equally worthy message, one floating above the franchise’s jukebox musical trappings.

Listening to other viewpoints only makes us stronger.

What sounded obvious just a few years ago is now a radical concept embraced primarily on the right. Maybe that will change, if only by a smidge, after youngsters watch this sweet, finger-snapping sequel.


Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are back from the first film, but poor Branch is knee deep in Friendville as the story opens.

What’s a fella gotta do to catch his love’s eye in a world overrun with glitter?

The first “Trolls” sequel isn’t obsessed with their courtship, though. The main story follows the Trolls’ complicated history, one built on a legacy of music (natch!) and division (whoa!).

Once upon a time six different Troll tribes (Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock) existed across the landscape. Now, a Troll glam rocker named Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) wants to unite those musical factions, but under her iron fist.

That’s an excuse to run through even more pop covers, but this time sampling a variety of musical styles. Kelly Clarkson’s character, a mountain of hair atop a cutie pie face, handles the country crooning.

It’s a nice surprise to see, and hear, Sam Rockwell take on Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” as the inscrutable Hickory. Is there anything the Oscar winner can’t do? 

Too bad the songs selected this time aren’t as infectious as before. Did anyone need to hear “Who Let the Dogs Out?” – even if only for a few bars? Other selections aren’t given enough time to heat up, as is the case with the umpteenth cover of “Barracuda.” Just when we’re ready to hear more, it’s time for another cover. 

TROLLS WORLD TOUR | Trolls Pop Medley Teaser | "Trolls 2 Many Hits Mashup"

Yes, the pacing in “Trolls World Tour” can be frantic, and some of the comic beats feel infantile even for a kiddie film. Still, the vocal cast is pitch perfect, with apologies to Miss Kendrick. And try not to grin when you realize that’s the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, voicing Queen Barb’s dithering daddy.

RELATED: Here’s a ‘Trolls’ fun pack for the kiddies to enjoy while watching the movie at home

The movie’s moral compass never gets lost in the musical morass, and that’s a good thing in a film that overdoses on colors, sights and sounds.

Poppy may be a Queen now, but she’d be wise to listen to the ones she loves a little harder. Let’s hope that same message gets through to the mover and shakers in La La Land.

They might learn a thing or two from these older, wiser “Trolls.”

HiT or Miss: “Trolls World Tour” delivers all the candy-colored treats we expect, even if you’ll forget much of it a few hours later. That’s good enough news for both kids and parents.

One Comment

  1. “Being tolerant of other people’s beliefs isn’t just a matter of being nice. It’s very practical.

    As thoughtful people, we recognize that some of our beliefs are wrong. But which ones? How are they wrong? And if they’re wrong, then what’s right?

    The best way to find out is to tolerate disagreement with our beliefs. In fact, we shouldn’t just tolerate it: we should welcome it. If someone proves that our beliefs are illogical, unsupported by evidence, or contradicted by the facts, then he or she has done us a favor. As a result, we can replace the incorrect belief with a more correct belief. We understand the world better. On the other hand, if the other person fails to disprove our belief, that’s indirect confirmation that our belief is correct as it stands. We can have more confidence in it.”

    — “Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace,” Chapter 15

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