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Trolls World Tour: A surprising and somewhat fun film.

Sequels have been known to surprise filmgoers like myself. Most of the time they won't turn out great, but there have been a few surprises that have popped up every once in a while. There have also been times when a sequel ends up being an improvement on a film that wasn't exactly very good. Granted though, there weren't any animated films that had this distinction until last year where I ended up enjoying "The Angry Birds Movie 2". Turns out, lightning has struck twice because "Trolls World Tour" is actually a good film. Granted, it's not perfect as it has some of the same problems that plagued the first film, but at least here I didn't feel like I was in pain watching it. I'd say this is actually a fun film. Sometime later after the first film where the Trolls made peace with their enemy the Bergen, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) have been living happily in their land. However, one day they discover that they aren't the only trolls out there as many different trolls live in their own separate worlds with their own genre of music whether it be country, techno, funk, classical, or rock. The latter though has been causing trouble as their queen, Barb (Rachel Bloom) has been going on a "world tour" to other trolls kingdoms to collect their strings so she can make rock the ultimate music genre. Hoping to stop before all music is destroyed, Poppy and Branch set off on a quest to figure out how to stop Barb before it's too late. As I said, I wasn't a fan of the first "Trolls". In fact, I'd go as far as saying I outright hated it. The film was incredibly annoying, had an awful message, and just felt like it was the creations of artists who gulped down too many Pixy Stix and had a sugar rush without putting thought into their creations. This film though takes most of what didn't work about that first film and really improves it. The story is probably why I liked this film a lot more than the first. This film isn't all bubbly and happiness as the first film and also benefits because it has a much better message. It also helps that it had funny moments that clearly mocked what the first film was going for. There's a scene where Poppy, Branch, and Biggie try to impress the country trolls with their music and they sing some of the worst modern pop songs imaginable like "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "Party Rock Anthem" though it works because the country trolls are just as disgusted as we are and it pays off with a funny joke at the end. It also isn't dated like the first film which benefited from dated jokes and trends. It also went to more places, unlike the first film which mainly took place in the Troll Kingdom and Bergen Village which was very beneficial for the animation. Speaking of which, that was easily the highlight of the film. There are so many new different animation techniques used in the film between the different trolls like limited frame animation and it uses the scrapbook feel to its advantage as well. I really liked how the water mainly consisted of streamers and plastic. I thought that was a nice touch. Even the colors weren't grating like the first film as it felt darker and restrained which was the right path for the film to go down. As far as the characters go, they also worked a lot better. Poppy improves as a protagonist as her goal is a lot better than having to simply rescue her friends from being gobbled up. This time she genuinely cares about her people and wants to protect her kind. Branch also improves as well as he isn't stuck up and stubborn as he once was in the first film. The other trolls who were friends of Poppy were okay, but nothing entirely memorable. Yet one character stood out amongst the sea of characters and that was Barb. She was such an entertaining character to watch with her thrash personality and even having her dad played by Ozzy Osbourne as this wheelchair-bound character made for some entertaining moments. She was such a highlight to watch and easily more entertaining than the villain from the last film. With that said, this film does still has some of the first film's stench on it. The first few minutes were annoying and got on my nerves quick as there was an annoying number featuring "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and it had moments that really made me roll my eyes. If some of those were cut, I think the film might've been better. At least once Poppy went on her quest, the film picked up steam and won me over. Also, I do miss Bridget and Gristle. They were my favorite characters of the first and I wish they had a presence in the film. That's really about it though. In the end, "Trolls World Tour" genuinely surprised me. Thee story was an improvement and had a good message, the animation was amazing and had interesting techniques, and the characters were fun and had some funny moments. I think this is another good example of an animated movie whose sequel is better than the first. If you're curious enough to check this film out, I'd recommend it. It ain't perfect, but I'd certainly take a good animated movie over a bad one any day.


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