After the Bergens, the Trolls series hasn’t yet found a villain to anchor this series, so it resorts to pop songs to tell much of its story. That works. It’s Trolls. It’s what they do.
Luckily, the Bergens are back, somewhat forced into the script, but at least they have a presence. Trolls World Tour has a blast with its boy band cliches, the painfully obvious references to New Kids, Backstreet, and a full cameo by N’Sync included, but hilariously within the tone. This entire world is based around smiles, and it’s unafraid of puns, cheap gags, or nostalgia at any expense. If it can get a smirk, it’s in Trolls.
Trolls Band Together lives up to the title
Trolls Band Together lives up to the title
At its core, Trolls Band Together lives up to the title – it’s about coming together as family, even if that family is an iconic ‘90s boy band. Kids may not get the throwback, but parents dragged to their third Trolls will have something worth seeing. The other messages slip in as needed, including to always be yourself, express it, and don’t be greedy, as with the talent-less adversaries who look like exaggerated bend-em figures.
This second sequel is clearly in a rush as to not bore any kids, ditching both the Bergens and Troll worlds for one lacking in any logic. All that matters is the songs and performances stand out, giving the characters spaces to play. It’s thin, focused on getting “BroZone” back as a team, including Branch (Justin Timberlake). Like Branch, who somehow kept an entire singing career hidden (if logical with the explanation), Poppy meets someone from her past too (less logically) in an effort to keep expanding the character base and sell more toys. Trolls Band Together sells lots of toys, surely.
Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells) create the conflict as the antagonists, introducing yet another layer to the Trolls lore (and again, sell more toys). Velvet’s obvious greed and Veneer’s sympathetic side create a fun balance, and a lesson in doing what’s right rather than always appeasing everyone. Trolls Band Together has plenty of energy to keep driving the themes home in-between a gluttonous amount of songs; it’s the music doing the heavy lifting this time given the thinness of the plot itself.
Each of the Trolls offered some spectacular 4K visuals. It’s all the hair and fuzz, you see. Trolls Band Together is unsurprisingly another winner visually. The sharpness and detail leap out from the opening moments, brilliantly defined. Down to the individual hairs, the definition rarely loses focus. Some aliasing is visible if you’re looking close. A screen full of glitter doesn’t cause the encode to even flinch.
Equally superlative, the color dazzles. Given the source material (with a Dolby Vision shot), color is everywhere. Hair, glitter, the world itself – Trolls Band Together is one scene after another of reference grade saturation. Flawless.
With light reflecting off of anything glitter, the amount of contrast is obscene. Overall brightness sustains a bright peak, and as needed, the black levels drop to the deepest point and stay there.
The first Trolls holds a reference grade Atmos track. This one… is not. To be fair, it’s a solid mix, with excellent direction, sublime channel split, and the heights pop in from time to time. Concerts and music swell to fill the full soundstage.
The bummer is the volume. Trolls Band Together needs a ridiculous bump to reach anything near normal, and once there, bass accentuates the music decently. It’s lacking that extra kick though, and fails to really sell any sense of scale.
Mostly made up of featurettes for kids, deleted scenes represent the high point of these bonuses. A short film comes in second. There’s a commentary with the creative team, from producer Gina Shay, co-director Tim Heitz, story lead Colin Jack, production designer Ruben Perez Reynoso, and VE supervisor Marc J. Scottt
Trolls Band Together
It’s beginning to lose momentum, but Trolls Band Together is still a fun and energetic entry in the series.
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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: