Star Rating:

Trolls Band Together

Directors: Walt Dohrn, Tim Heitz

Actors: Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake

Release Date: Friday 20th October 2023

Genre(s): Adventure, Animation, Family

Running time: 92 minutes

Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) discovers that Branch (Justin Timberlake) was once part of a boy band called BroZone with his brothers: Floyd (voice of Troye Sivan), John Dory (voice of Eric Andre), Spruce (voice of Daveed Diggs), and Clay (voice of Kid Cudi). But when Floyd is kidnapped by wannabe pop stars Velvet and Veneer (voices of Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells) to harness his talent, Branch and Poppy must reunite BroZone to free Floyd with the help of perfect family harmony...

Let's not kid ourselves here - chances are the only reason you're reading this is because you're a parent and you're trying to find out how long this movie is so you can figure out if you can doze off in the runtime.

The answer is yes. The movie is about 90 minutes long, and depending on your ability to sleep through a jukebox musical, you can safely snooze while your children enjoy the bright colours and the familiar voices. If, however, you choose to stay awake and enjoy the experience, your patience with 'Trolls Band Together' is probably going to be tested. Yes, the kids will enjoy themselves, but you will be hammered with the horrifying knowledge that this is the kind of banal, unoriginal pablum that serves as corporation family entertainment in the dystopian wastelands of our content churn industry.

The kind of cloying, patronising nostalgia that's seen 'Trolls' somehow turn get a third movie and become a media franchise all of its own is in full power here and aimed squarely at parents of a certain vintage who remember boybands in their heyday. Of course, nobody does it like the originals. Yet, for a movie that's about this very fact, it never wastes a moment in blasting out a megamix of chart hits from yesteryear that are auto-keyed and auto-tuned into one vaguely familiar, amorphous wall of sound coming from equally familiar characters from your childhood, now rendered in CGI by an exhausted, overworked animator.

Yes, 'Trolls Band Together' does feature familiar voices like Anna Kendrick, Amy Schumer, Justin Timberlake, and Eric Andre giving the exact amount of spirit in their voices that their paycheque enables them to. Yes, the script talks about "perfect family harmony" saving the day, and yes, there's annoyingly catchy, original songs mixed in and a cameo from a well-known boyband from way back when too. For kids, the bright colours and the loud music will keep them dizzy and excited, for slightly older kids, the sassy humour will work wonders. For everyone else, it's chintzy, unoriginal content.

'Trolls Band Together' is exactly the kind of perfectly precise, intuitively nostalgic, utterly soulless "content" that gets churned out and does huge numbers for Universal Studios, and UMG, which owns the rights to all of the songs in the movie. There's enough personality around the margins here and there to make it somewhat funny in parts, but again, depending on your baseline of cynicism, the whole thing just feels as disposable as the plastic toys they're based upon.