It’s easy to forget that Trolls World Tour was one of the first pandemic films, in that it was the first major studio release during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Universal, who is the owner of the Trolls studio DreamWorks, decided to experiment and release the film directly to Premium Video on Demand (VOD), much to the chagrin of movie theaters around the country. Apparently, this experiment paid off: the film earned over $100 million in the first three weeks of its release.  And because it was PVOD, Universal was able to take home a larger percentage than the theaters give them. It’s hard to imagine that audiences were clamoring for yet another Trolls sequel, but here we are.

Trolls Band Together is the third film in the DreamWorks franchise. The story starts with a flashback of the night of a concert of the Trolls all-brother boy band “BroZone”, with baby Branch (voiced by Alan Kim) being among them. Their drive for perfection ends up causing their performance to be a disaster which in turn causes them to break up and presumably never see each other again.

We then go to the present day when the first film ended with the Bergen royal wedding between Gristle Jr (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Bridget (Zoey Deschanel). Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and adult Branch (Justin Timberlake) are in attendance when it is rudely interrupted by Branch’s oldest brother, John Dory (Eric Andre), with a message that they must go on an adventure to help one of their brothers Floyd (Troy Sivan).

We discover that Floyd is being held captive and used by the Pop siblings Velvet (Amy Schumer) and Veneer (Andrew Rannells). They are using him to steal his talent instead of actually practicing and becoming good.

It was here where the film got interesting. This theme of building a career on the shoulders of others’ talents instead of doing the work of your own is an offshoot of the theme of the first Trolls film, which almost punched the audience in the face with analogizing the Burgen with online trolls. However, it didn’t really pay it off in any meaningful way, which left me unsatisfied.

The main problem of the film is that there are two themes that do lightly play into each other, yet don’t fully gel.  The main theme is about the pursuit of perfectionism being detrimental to our lives and how a family should accept each other despite their flaws. It was very moving and the payoff of the first theme was great. They just didn’t really tie the themes together well enough.

The film’s music is fun but just like its predecessor, the original songs are pretty forgettable. For a film that is a supposed parody of boy bands, it certainly lacks very many actual Boy Band songs (or references for that matter). There is one really great bit, however, which I won’t spoil here.


Trolls Band Together is a messy, albeit moving sequel that hits home the toxicity of perfectionism, both in our crafts and in our expectations of others. It’s a tad better than World Tour, but nowhere near as good as the first.