As the primary main Hollywood film — and, actually, the one one — because the outbreak of the coronavirus to bow out of its scheduled theatrical launch and reposition itself on a home-viewing platform, “Trolls World Tour” has the prospect to be a much bigger occasion than it might need in any other case. Or possibly a smaller one. (Or possibly each directly.) What’s plain is that the movie now stands, in a method that nobody was ever planning on, because the one and solely new mainstream industrial launch that movie-starved audiences will get an opportunity to see in April.
That mentioned, there could also be much less significance to its modified circumstances than you would possibly suppose. When Common first introduced that its sequel to “Trolls” would bypass theaters altogether, some observers took it because the proverbial crack within the theatrical window they’d been ready for — the primary domino to fall in an more and more tense chilly battle, the one between film studios and exhibitors over the difficulty of how lengthy a movie ought to be allowed to play in theaters earlier than it’s made accessible for dwelling viewing.
But now that “Trolls World Tour” is right here (it will likely be accessible on demand beginning Friday, April 10), it seems much less just like the spark of a revolution than like a semi-repeat of one thing that has already occurred with out anybody blinking an eye fixed. To wit: Final 12 months, Disney determined, with out fanfare, to launch its live-action “Girl and the Tramp” not in theaters (the unique plan) however as a streaming unique to assist the launch of Disney Plus. That occurred, and the world went on as is.
What the world most likely felt, implicitly (or explicitly, to anybody who noticed the movie), is that “Girl and the Tramp” was a decidedly minor instance of what was already an aesthetically doubtful endeavor: the strip-mining of Disney animated classics for live-action remakes. True, a few of these movies had been main hits, like “Magnificence and the Beast” and “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.” However how a lot did it matter, within the scheme of issues, that “Girl and the Tramp” can be seen solely at dwelling? Perhaps under no circumstances.
Within the case of “Trolls World Tour,” it might need mattered — a bit — if the movie have been as sparkly, enchanting, and all-out maniacal enjoyable as “Trolls,” the 2016 dolls-R-us fantasy that I wasn’t alone to find to be one of many singular animated pleasures of the final decade. No, it wasn’t a heady inventive masterpiece like “Inside Out.” But it was the uncommon kiddie film that gave off an incandescent buzz of pleasure.
“Trolls World Tour,” which was made by one of many authentic movie’s administrators, Walt Dohrn (now co-directing with David P. Smith), has the identical delectably tactile and distinctive eye-candy look as “Trolls”; it’s set in a storybook kingdom that’s all sweetness and light-weight and glitter and fuzz and bursting psychedelic pastels. And since a key aspect of the primary movie’s allure was how unabashedly it used pop music not simply as the standard aural wallpaper however to paint within the ecstatic spirit of the “Trolls,” “Trolls World Tour,” as its title suggests, is much more of a music-drenched fairy story.
But for all its floor pleasures (and they’re appreciable), it’s a likable however underimagined one, with extra enthusiasm than shock and, on the identical time, an nearly overly programmed sense of its personal thematic future.
The movie opens with an intensely cool-looking land of Trolls that’s totally different from the one we have been in earlier than — a darkly pulsating Day-Glo nightclub kingdom that seems to be the house of the Techno Trolls, an enraptured tribe of disco revelers. Then their rave is invaded by what seem like spaceships designed like mini-dungeons. They’re a fleet led by Queen Barbara, monarch of the Rock Trolls. A heavy-metal hellion in a pink mohawk, sporting fishnets and three big hope earrings, she’s a self-styled goddess of exhausting rock, and she or he has arrived, with villainous fervor, to stamp out any music however her personal. “We’re all going to have the identical vibe,” she declares, sounding like Jack Black crossed with Joan Jett merged with Maleficent. “We’re all going to be one nation of Trolls — below rock!”
If you happen to sense a quite high-volume metaphor for the intolerance of others, you’d be proper. And in “Trolls World Tour,” the metaphor doesn’t finish there. Our keen, floppy-red-haired heroine, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), is now queen of the Trolls (or because the film involves model them, the Pop Trolls), who receives an invite to hitch Queen Barbara’s World Rock Tour, not realizing that it’s truly a tour of oppression devoted to stamping out the whole lot else. Poppy climbs right into a hot-air-balloon to go meet her sister Troll queen, with the ever-forlorn Department (Justin Timberlake) alongside for the journey, however not earlier than the 2 study that there are, actually, six tribes of Trolls, all divided up by musical ardour. Along with the Pop Trolls, there are Troll lands dedicated to funk, techno, classical music, nation, and exhausting rock. Every one is constructed round a literal glowing “string,” which have been as soon as united (just like the six strings of a guitar). However regularly, the Trolls grew hostile to one another’s tastes, leading to a land of colonies that sound like Sirius XM channels.
In concept, all of this ought to be setting the desk for a real jukebox jamboree, one which multiplies the pop ardour of “Trolls.” In spirit, that’s what the film needs to do. However when it comes right down to enjoying out this musical mythology, “Trolls World Tour” seems to be an amiable however quite one-dimensional slow-poke street film, wherein Poppy, Department, and their stowaway sidekick, the charmingly terrified Biggie (James Corden), together with his pet-worm-meets-sock-puppet-meets-Mr.-Invoice mascot, Mr. Dinkles (Kevin Michael Richardson), go to every of those musical lands, which transform visually charming however borderline cliché locations.
The land of the classical-music Trolls, referred to as Symphonyville, is heralded by a snatch of Mozart’s 40th Symphony and consists of big-long-haired flying angels enjoying penny flutes. The land of the nation Trolls, referred to as Lonesome Flats, options Kelly Clarkson as a actually big-haired nation diva singing the lachrymose “Born to Die,” and yields another fellow traveler for Poppy and firm: a chivalrous drawling centaur named Hickory (Sam Rockwell). It’s all a bit rote till they get to Vibe Metropolis, the land of the funk Trolls, which is the place the image ought to actually take off. As an alternative, it turns right into a quite dour lesson about appropriation, wherein Poppy learns that the pop music she reveres a lot was truly lifted from different sources (in different phrases: pop disco began out, within the ‘70s, as an indigenous type of R&B), and so, in being a celebration to this theft, she has truly assisted in making the world musically alienated from itself.
Truthful sufficient, however would it not be insensitive to ask: The place’s the social gathering in that? Extra to the purpose, the movie may have put throughout this unassailable if painfully musically right message in a significantly better method — by turning the funk Trolls part right into a rowdy celebration of 1 Troll nation below a groove. It’s enjoyable to see George Clinton and Mary J. Blige forged because the king and queen, however “Trolls World Tour” is so well-meaning it truly will get a bit responsible concerning the musical pulse at its core.
The film does have its wild-card moments, just like the exuberant medley of pop songs, from “Wannabe” to “Occasion Rock Anthem,” that Poppy and pals carry out in Lonesome Flats, or the very humorous concept of getting Queen Barbara’s bounty hunters disguised as musicians from genres like clean jazz — which lulls everybody into such a stupor they begin hallucinating — to reggaeton and Ok-Pop (the latter two have a dance-off). But the primary “Trolls” had a significantly better story. This one creates the impact of watching rudimentary puzzle items — and a generic we-live-in-one-world-but-we’re-all-different message — fall into place. Kendrick’s Poppy has to study to hear extra (not precisely a heroine’s mythic journey), and even when Timberlake’s testy Department declares his like to her, the impact appears weirdly tamped down by the film not desirous to overplay the romantic angle. If you happen to’re a fan of “Trolls,” “Trolls World Tour” will make you recall what you cherished about it. However this one is simply too cautious to match that blissed-out sparkle.