From the land of sparkles, shine and all things that rhyme, comes another story that will blind you with colour, deafen you with music and, while at it, tell you how good it’s to have a family.
For, it’s into this third Trolls film from DreamWorks Animation that we realise that Branch (Timberlake), who has been doing his saving-the-Troll-world kind of things, is at heart a boy yearning for his four big brothers. They were in a boy band together – a premise that the film uses to pun its way out of many a mess, such as talking about growing from “boys to men”, and going “backstreet” etc, etc – till they weren’t.
Following a bad performance together, the big brothers one day all set off on their solo ways, leaving Branch – who was then still “in diapers”, though age can be a hard thing to tell in the Troll world – mostly on his own.
Loving brothers usually don’t do that. But that is not the only incongruent detail in the film, which appears to have hastily thought this up to give a backstory to our Branch.
The best part about Trolls the film are two people meant to be the worst part about it. Those are the latest sensations of the pop world, Velvet (a delightful Schumer) and brother Veneer (Rannells). They have kept one of Branch’s Troll brothers, Floyd, imprisoned in a diamond bauble and are literally sucking out his singing talent now to further their careers.
Hence, the need for the brothers to come together, and whip up “the perfect family harmony”, for this can “shatter diamonds”, literally. Poppy (Kendrick, the most enduring part of the film), who is now Branch’s official girlfriend, is an enthusiastic sidekick.
Velvet and Veneer are creatures of our day and age, where fame is a factor of mostly things other than talent, and a commodity that perishes fast. Velvet has a hungry recognition of this, and drags along a half-reluctant Veneer into treating Floyd abysmally.
Had Trolls Band Together stuck with this storyline, we could have had a winner. Instead, we even get a reunion of ‘NSYNC, the band that Timberlake was one part of, with a joke thrown in to jog our memories.
It’s the band’s first song together in 20 years. It’s the third Trolls film in seven years. Hard to say what has aged worse.
Trolls Band Together movie directors: Walt Dohrn, Tim Heitz
Trolls Band Together movie cast: Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Amy Schumer, Andrew Rannells, Eric André
Trolls Band Together movie rating: 1.5 stars