It has been four years since the 2016 release of Trolls and 2020 seems to be the perfect time for an upbeat explosion of colors and pop music. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake are back as Poppy and Branch. James Corden and Ron Funches hang around as supporting characters. The ensemble cast gets a wonderful expansion as we journey further around the troll's world.
Rachel Bloom plays Queen Barb of the hard rock trolls. She is trying to collect all the magical music strings from the various kingdoms and envelope the entire world in hard rock music. In her quest for the strings and Poppy’s quest to stop it, we meet the funk Trolls with George Clinton and Mary J Blige, the Country trolls with Kelly Clarkson and Sam Rockwell. Ozzy Osbourne even plays Barb’s aging father. These are wonderful nods to the hall of fame artists in their respective genres. This is a nice easter egg for parents and grandparents. A lot of these references seem more for grandparents than parents of six-year-olds.
Just like the original Trolls, the journey has low stakes to not frighten kids and love conquers all in the end. The visuals are cranked up to eleven and are a dazzling colorful feast for the eyes. The pop song mashups are very catchy. The movie relies more on existing music than originals, so the earworms may be less than the first movie.
I appreciated the McElroy brothers of MBMBAM fame getting a few lines in the movie. It was part of the reason I watched the movie. This movie delivers on everything that you would expect from a Trolls sequel and is just as good as the original. You can’t help but relax with this movie on, even if it is just to distract your child for 90 minutes. You are going to catch yourself watching and breathing out a relaxing sigh.