Normally I stay away from kiddie movies such as these, but being sequestered at home will do strange things to you. After the huge popularity of 2016’s Trolls and its super-catchy earworm of a song, the Academy Award winning Can’t Stop The Feeling, Dreamworks Animation naturally threw together a sequel.
If you (or your kids) remember the previous film, the endlessly happy, happy Trolls (based on the 1960’s Dam dolls–Google it) defeated the evil Bergens who ate Trolls, and everyone lived happily ever after. Yaay. Now another antagonist is rearing its ugly head to bring about dark times, and that person is Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) of the Rock Trolls (as in, Rock ‘n’ Roll). Y’see, this outrageous leather-clad electric guitar toting mama is out to unite all the six Troll musical styles: Pop, Rock, Country, Techno, Funk, and Classical and make them ALL Rock ‘n’ Roll!! Actually, that sounds pretty good to me!
But that also means stealing their individual ‘musical strings’ that they hold after she destroys their cities! Think Steppenwolf and his pursuit of the Mother Boxes in Justice League. Anyway, terminally happy Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) decides to go after Queen Barb, to not only stop her, but to give her a hug (the Pop Trolls do that sort of thing every hour, it seems). Tagging along is her sensible boyfriend, Branch (Justin Timberlake) and a rather large Troll called Biggie (James Corden) who always carries a worm. Go figure. But Queen Barb and her sickly dad (Ozzy Osborne) have an ace up their sleeve: hiring Troll mercenaries like Yodel and Smooth Jazz to find Queen Poppy and her musical string and bring her to Queen Barb.
Meanwhile, on their way to the different musical Troll lands to stop Barb from taking the strings, Poppy & friends run into trouble with the Country Trolls (who are all centaurs. Again, go figure) and imprisoned. But! Just as they’re busted out of jail by centaur Hickory (Sam Rockwell), they’re almost immediately recaptured by the kindly Funk Trolls (who look like llamas. Why? Beats me!) There, Poppy learns the hidden, terrible backstory of about the Trolls musical strings; a plot lifted straight from Frozen II. This realization leads to the overly-cliched “second act break-up that ends with a third act reconciliation” between Poppy and Branch.
Anyway, Queen Barb finally acquires all the strings and prepares to bring about Rock Armageddon when, well, you can pretty much figure out what happens. A screenplay that has FIVE writers (!!!), you can see why this movie is so thin on story and relies heavily on bright & dazzling colors, dumb & lame jokes, many butt references, and a whole lotta songs that just pop-up for no reason. Yeah, it’s safe to say this film is geared for little kiddies as the storyline is filled with plot holes and forced scenes that come outta nowhere and go nowhere. In fact, the Troll-eating Bergens, who were so wickedly amusing in last film, aren’t even mentioned! They only make a very brief cameo at the end right before the credits.
Newbie director Walt Dohrn does a fairly good job, as he’s most known for his vocal talents in the Shrek franchise and Trolls. It’s rapid-paced and jumbled, like jiggling keys in front of a baby to keep it amused for a few minutes; something is always happening in the back or foreground. I will give this movie props for the Rock Trolls; they were the best thing about the film and should have been shown more. They… well… ROCKED! Having Ozzy Osborne as the Rock Troll King that slurs his words? Funny stuff
I also have to bring up the subject of online streaming. IF you’re a family of four or more, the $20 fee for renting this movie is a pretty good deal, but if you’re all alone, shelling out $20 for a movie is pricey! Damn you, Covid-19!