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Trolls World Tour
Trolls World Tour was if memory serves, a digital-only release when it came out in April 2020, I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, given that I had a young child in the house, I would like to think that I was aware of the film, but held out long enough that I would get a peek of it soon enough through the generosity of the DVD Talk offers. I even watched the first Trolls movie to both kick the can down the road, but also as a sort of ramp-up to whatever I would experience with this one. Good timing wins again!
Anyway, the CG affair finds Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger returning to contribute work on a screenplay that Walt Dohrn returned to co-direct, this time with David P. Smith. This film finds Poppy (Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect) and Branch (Justin Timberlake, The Social Network) trying to go to all the different troll kingdoms to save the trolls from Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), who rules the Heavy Metal Troll Kingdom. She wants to get all the kingdoms and make them more rock-related, Poppy wants everyone to get along as much as possible. That is the basics for this because it's a movie about trolls, there really isn't much more to glean from it, OK?
The film does a couple of things well and it turns out they are the biggest things they could have nailed; first was the casting of some of many of the prominent trolls in the various kingdoms. If you are getting George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson and Ozzy Osbourne to play trolls that are inspired by themselves, you are doing something right, and each gets a moment to shine in their respective role. Mix in people like Kenan Thompson and James Corden, who are reliable comedic voices in animated films, and you have got a solid foundation for a fun movie.
And that is what this turns out to be; the surprising addition of Sam Rockwell as Hickory, a Sheriff who is more of a fan of the older style of country music, trying to help Poppy and Branch out, he winds up having a pleasant contribution to the film. Kids will (and probably) are enjoying the film for a multitude of reasons; mine liked the talking tumbleweed and Biggie (Corden's character) doing the worm. But there are jokes for the parents as well, less ‘grown-up' jokes and more kind of a wink and a nod ones, which make you show your teeth more than you would expect to for something like this.
Trolls World Tour gives the kids the message that all music is okay, just like all people are, which is nice to see, and there are plenty of moments for you to tap your toes and snap your fingers that helps that message resonate. It is a superficial, pleasant ride that you can take with your little one and you will both laugh and enjoy the story, albeit in different parts of course. But hey, any ‘Rona entertainment is good ‘Rona entertainment.
The UHD is simply phenomenal, starting from the opening musical number set to "One More Time," where the color groupings of the trolls pop in greens, yellows and reds. Moving to the country troll kingdom, the browns and faded colors of the desert provide grain and detail in sand and wood nicely, as do fabrics in tighter shots of the trolls. There is a multidimensional look to the film where backgrounds are easily discernible and stand out, and there are no issues of artifacts, haloing or smearing to speak of. If you have a big TV, a 4K player and children, you will want to take a look at this.
Dolby Atmos for the film which was a natural choice, given all the music in it (Ozzy, Clinton, Hocus Pocus, etc), but the film puts more of an emphasis on power and balance on the big stuff, and it does not carry over to the smaller things. Poppy, Branch and Hickory are on a boat of sorts, and channel panning for the action on it would have been an excellent idea, and it is sonically barren. That is one example that hopefully illustrates how Trolls World Tour could have done more to be a technically perfect disc, but I guess it will have to do with just being technically very good.
Dohrn, Smith and producer Gina Shay team up for a friendly, funny commentary track. They point out the different animation types in the film, share their thoughts on the cast that they worked with, and on life at Dreamworks Animation in general. Homages and new characters are pointed out, and while there is some watching of the film, it is an upbeat track that has a little bit of production recall. "Tiny Diamond Goes Back to School" (3:46) is a tie-in short film of sorts, while "Trolls Dance Academy" (7:08) looks at the steps needed to get your groove on, as a "Dance Party Edition" of the film would necessitate I guess! There is a tourist map of the various kingdoms that includes a description and scenes from the movie. Seven deleted scenes (19:24) include introduction and the reasons why they were cut, and are in varying stages of animation. "Trolls Perfect Harmony" (4:29) has the returning cast talking about a second film, as the new cast is introduced, and they talk about doing songs for the film. "Trolls World Tour Backstage" (9:07) is the closest thing to a making-of the disc has to offer. The package also comes with a Blu-ray disc and code for a digital copy.
Trolls World Tour knows the audience it is going after, and with a message that is saccharine enough, combined with the convicting and belief in its power, makes for an entertaining time for kids and grown-ups alike. Technically it is as close to perfect as you are going to get this year, and the extra material could have used a little more work than what was given, though I guess it is understandable why it is a little hollow. Solid recommendation at least, with more depending on if you are a parent or not.