A Little Country (But Mostly Rock and Roll)

“Hating things takes so much energy,” spouts Barb (Rachel Bloom), a hard rock troll out to silence all other music forms. That line is driving Trolls World Tour’s message, fairly typical material for kids about working together rather than apart. Its routine, though, does push acceptance and the colorful ideal when everyone embraces their differences – still stock material, filled with stock songs.

There is one moment where Trolls World Tour takes a definitive, unique stand. In visiting a hip hop land, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) learns her village – pop music village – stole the hip hop culture. Poppy’s moment of realization is startling, an immediate understanding that her own history (a revisionist version taught in her books) comes at a cost.

… at this point in history, Trolls World Tour’s refresher course on diversity’s value isn’t the worst thing

Then it’s dropped and Trolls World Tour moves on.

Bouncing from place to place, Trolls World Tour doesn’t run low on energy. Each location brings stereotypes and cliches, like a country town full of farmers, cows, and Dolly Parton-esque queen. Trolls World Tour simplifies and sanitizes the world, distilling tropes to kids, the end result filtered into a world made of cotton, silk, and fuzzy grass. Appropriately, it’s a soft landing at all times.

Trolls World Tour adores pop music, and that’s a fit: the script doesn’t assume kids can or will grasp diversity, and equivalent to a generic, socially conscious pop hit, Trolls World Tour makes its lyrics clear. Not only in dialog, but in color. Barb’s rock group exists mostly in gray and blacks and harsh reds; Polly’s existence is nothing less than saccharine soaked dreamland. Near the end, out goes the color, turning an entire stadium dusty, at least until balance is restored.

So no, Trolls World Tour is never difficult. If by slim chance a young one doesn’t see equality, there’s enough enthusiasm and fun to drive this story. Yet, it’s almost entirely filled with firm-handed messaging and forceful lines; that’s much of the runtime, and few six year-olds will catch Ozzy Osborne references (among others). It’s something for the adults, and at this point in history, a refresher course on diversity’s value isn’t the worst thing.

Video

It’s like the creators knew how to draw in a home theater crowd. After a brief recap, Trolls World Tour begins in techno land, where colored lights flow in a menagerie of hues. The glow is incredible, stretching Dolby Vision’s limits in the best way. The rest looks great too, overdosing on bright, sharp, dynamic saturation. This aesthetic doesn’t let go.

Dazzling brightness keeps imagery perky, which like the color, stays high. Glitter falls all over this movie, and one character is literally crystal, blinding in intensity. Few moments demand black levels, although they perform well too. In the finale, it’s all set in a volcanic area, the darkened rocks clashing gorgeously against the molten flow.

Whether stemming from a 2K or 4K source isn’t known, yet hardly matters. Trolls World Tour spares nothing in sharpness. Detail runs high, a given considering all the hair, then doubled by felt-like “skin” and fabric grass. Wide shots reveal the animation splendor, capturing trolls in the hundreds as they dance along. Marvelous stuff.

Audio

Sadly, even with the music, the listless Atmos track reduces it range. Output barely registers even as the story demands a brutal jolt. Overall volume sits too low. Bass doesn’t kick in like expected, and that goes for music and action; neither lock in.

Likewise, surrounds flatten, limited in discreet separation. Other than large crowds, this is driven by the front soundstage. Height effects fail to produce much of anything. Bummer.

Extras

Co-directors Walt Dohrn and David Smith join producer Gina Shay on commentary. The rest aims at kids with EPK materials, a few deleted scenes, dance lesson, animated short, and a dance-along mode that runs through the movie.

Trolls World Tour
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Trolls World Tour doesn’t hold back its equality message to ensure kids understand, and doesn’t hold any surprises in its delivery either.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 44 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: