The sequel to 2016’s Trolls becomes the first film intended for theatrical release to be circulated on digital platforms amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Starring Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rachel Bloom
The most notable thing about this unassuming animated film’s release is, bizarrely, its link to the potential decline of the cinema industry. Not because of anything even vaguely to do with its quality, or indeed any complaints of Hollywood becoming lazy or running out of ideas, using visual spectacle as a mask for cogent or well-developed plots, but merely because of its significance in bypassing the box office entirely. In contrast, Universal made the decision to make the film (which had already been rescheduled multiple times before release) available on streaming platforms to the tune of £16. Some may claim that its success will be indicative of whether cinema releases are even necessary, though I would say that these claims are monumentally exaggerated. Firstly, the success of Trolls World Tour will also be influenced by the number of people who would have gone to the cinema to see it anyway, which I would suggest would mainly be families (and also myself), but also because of the fact that we are all housebound, without an available cinema to hand. Would releasing straight away on streaming be a viable option otherwise, had cinemas still be open? Likely not. The only other film that springs to mind as being immediately released upon a streaming platform instead of theatrically would be 2019’s Lady and the Tramp, which debuted upon Disney+ instead of gracing cinemas, though this was likely more to entice people to subscribe to Disney+ in conjunction with the growing malaise the public is experiencing towards Disney’s somewhat unnecessary live-action remakes of beloved classics, especially one like Lady and the Tramp, which fewer people hold in high esteem compared to the likes of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. I digress entirely: the concept of spending £16 to watch a film in the comfort of your own home is entirely ludicrous. The decision made by Universal was one born out of necessity, to make the most of a bad situation, and also likely to be of a huge relief to countless families who need to stop their children from bouncing off the walls. Is this a viable business model moving forwards? I would certainly hope not, as my Cineworld Unlimited card would be a monumental waste of time, and I genuinely do not know many people who would spend such an amount to watch a film for a window of 30 days, when they could wait a couple of months and buy it outright for less.
Trolls World Tour is the highly anticipated (mainly by me, see here) sequel to 2016’s Trolls, which follows the exploits of the queen of the trolls Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and her best friend Branch (Justin Timberlake). With the dire threat of the Bergens, who ate trolls in order to feel happiness, eliminated by the end of the first film, viewers would be forgiven from wondering what another film based upon small plastic toys with brightly coloured hair could possibly have to offer.
The sequel makes the decision to expand the universe of the Trolls, revealing that Poppy is Queen to only one of multiple Troll tribes, each one dedicated to a different musical genre. Poppy’s is, unsurprisingly, the pop tribe, while there also tribes dedicated to classical music, techno, funk, country and rock. Unfortunately for Poppy, and the other tribes, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) of the rock tribe seeks to destroy all other types of music from the Trolls world, so that rock can reign supreme and they can be united. What follows is a quest for Poppy, Branch and an unwilling Biggie (James Corden) to prevent Barb’s domination.
With a fairly basic plot, the film is littered with wonderful musical numbers, featuring a vast array of songs that even the adults will be satisfied by, as well as an eclectic, yet delightful, array of cameos, such as Kelly Clarkson, Ozzy Osbourne, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Icona Pop and Jamie Dornan. In addition to that, it is a film full to the brim of aggressively bright, colourful animations and enough glitter to bury an army. While the film doesn’t lend much depth to its emotional moments, or even the exploration to the theme that pop music is based upon musical moments lifted and appropriated from other genres, it rockets along at a pace guaranteed to endure the shortest of attention spans.
Ultimately, the film conveys a message of acceptance and the need to be individual and accept and acknowledge the diversities and differences within society. Furthermore, it is a delightful escape from the real world for a whole hour and a half. Sometimes, a film doesn’t need to be sophisticated or deep, but just entertaining. Trolls World Tour is that. Colourful, silly, slightly childish, but just heaps upon heaps of heart-warming fun.
Trolls World Tour is streaming now, on such platforms as Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play
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