Trolls Band Together

Directed By Walt Dohrn and Tim Heitz

Starring – Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Eric Andre

The Plot – Poppy (Kendrick) discovers that Branch (Timberlake) was once part of a boy band, BroZone, with his brothers: Floyd (Troye Sivian), John Dory (Andre), Spruce (Daveed Diggs), and Clay (Kid Cudi). But when Floyd is kidnapped, Branch and Poppy embark on a journey to reunite the other brothers and rescue Floyd.

Rated PG for some mild rude and suggestive humor

TROLLS BAND TOGETHER | Official Trailer – YouTube


There’s no shortage of cute or clever to this third installment of the Trolls franchise, which emphatically pays its respects to the history of boy band music with its most contextually consistent soundtrack to date. In terms of music, the film is once again destined to become a staple of family households everywhere, with some of pop music’s most decorated hits inspiring an infectious energy to child audiences. In the case of Timberlake, this is an obvious but effective direction, tapping into the boy-bander turned actor’s own musical history, but one that pays off ironically to the depths of the material, which in itself not only spoofs boyband personalities with an air of unapologetic hillarity, but also kids sequels as a whole, which abruptly introduce these elements of unforeseen backstory to characters that were never evident in series’ predecessors. Having this element of self-awareness is what helps this film barely succeed on its own merits, but beyond that it’s the combination of gorgeously luscious presentation in animated renderings, as well as a charming ensemble that heavily influence its cause. For the former, Dreamworks continues to be a valued contender in animated envelopings, surmizing splashes of vibrant color and expressive charms to its sugar-coated presentation that values three-dimensional and two-dimensional styles respectively, all the while imbedding that sense of music video style familiarity to each of its technical capacities. As for that aforementioned ensemble, the overstuffed number of assembled names certainly leads to dimishing returns in the majority, but a few talented names still maintain their impactful place in this franchise, ideally Timberlake and Kendrick, whose sweetly surrending chemistry makes Branch and Poppy leap from the screen with unyielding heart and commitment to cause. Timberlake definitely takes the reins with this third installment, with a story that practically centers around his character, but one that equally allows him to exude his talents in both the musical and acting capacities, with even the first new song from Nsync in twenty years to celebrate the occasion. Lastly, the film’s script is noticeably flawed, but still manages to cement a meaningful message in the value of family importance that wears remarkably to the film’s warmhearted atmosphere. Being that Branch is in a long-distance search for his lost brothers, the material conveys that they’re a lot stronger as a whole than they could ever be apart, and considering the entirety of the film revolves around boybands, the reflective sentiments of family dynamic breed themselves accordingly to a group, establishing that heart underneath the surface that the series has been known for.


While “Band Together” was definitely my favorite of the Trolls trilogy, it isn’t without problematic instances that took away a lot of the momentum that the film had working for it after an intriguing opening act. From these establishing motions of the plot, the film not only zeroes in on an antagonist angle, with a devilish duo that aren’t written remarkably original or even slightly compelling, but also goes through the motions of the happenings of what persists back at Troll Village, with the rest of the assorted characters left with little to nothing to do in the confines of this installment. For my money, I wish the script maintained focus on Branch, Poppy and Dory finding Branch’s other brothers, as it’s not only the central plot, but also brings with it many intriguing explorations in dynamics that deserved more of the 85 minute run time, primarily Branch’s own insecurities with being abandoned by the boys he considered brothers. The run time also creates chaos for itself, in that the rampant pacing of this movie completely obliterates any kind of impact from anyting raining down on our protagonists, so that it can zoom its way to the finish line. It’s easy to imagine that the production had kids in mind with such breakneck pacing, but it has an equally adverse effect on adult audiences, making it difficult to focus or even feel invested to developments that are frequently storming by. This is made even more troubling with the amount of musical numbers wedged into moments that don’t quite earn them, making it a bigger battle for crumbs in the confines of its minimal run time. The performance sequences are fine during concert sequences, but in tow when we meet a new character, diminishes what time of exposition that we could spend with them, in turn outlining the improper direction of many recent kids movies, which would rather sell downloads than utilize the depths of meaningful characterization.

“Trolls Band Together” is a colorfully expressive and tenderly sentimental family first narrative that supplants enough meaningful merit to the music that overloads this sugary sweet engagement. While the plot and storytelling are at a series-minimal, with blink-and-miss-it developments wedged in between this tightly compressed 85-minute package, the unwavering chemistry between Timberlake and Kendrick still exudes a warmly gentle glow that appeals something soothing to all audiences, making this one reunion tour for the franchise that at least feels fully justified.

My Grade: 6/10 or C+

One thought on “Trolls Band Together

  1. Though I already planned on seeing this since I want to support DreamWorks, I was not looking forward to it. So I got to say that I’m pleasantly surprised by some of the elements you stated. This franchise has always looked good so I’m glad that it’s consistent and the bubbly energy that it has probably goes a long way to keep the pacing going forward. I am shocked by just how short it is and how much music it’s cramming into such a short runtime. But honestly after a lackluster first film and a genuinely bad second film, I’ll take what I can get out of a movie that’ll satisfy kids. Excellent work as always!

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