I was extremely surprised when Trolls had a sequel release, and then even more so to see it was a massive lockdown hit. Maybe I'd been too quick to write this off as another Lego Movie clone cash-grab? Well, almost. In fairness, Trolls is a pretty competent kids movie. It's fun, has some decent humour, and a solid underlying message about empathy, friendship, and bullying. The team behind the now smash-hit series has also created a surprisingly original fantasy world, although the overall vibe of it being a child's imagination (scenery is made up of old bits of clothing and things like yoghurt pots; creatures feel like the kind of acid-dream critters kids doodle on the back of restaurant menus; and the world would slot into Yellow Submarine far more easily than most modern films) did leave me constantly wondering if they were about to cut out to two kids playing with actual Troll dolls in their bedroom, so it doesn't avoid Lego Movie comparisons entirely.
Luckily, though, that twist never came. Instead, we learn about the pop-loving, all-singing, all-dancing Trolls, and how they've spent aeons being farmed for a giant race of ogre-like creatures who can only feel happiness when brutally murdering their sentient cattle. It's a pretty dark setup, but as mentioned it does land on some interesting morales and pulls together fairly well.
Of course, the real reason that Trolls is such a breakout hit is that soundtrack, and I'd say it was done pretty well. Is it a clear vehicle for promoting the labels and artists associated with the film? Sure, but it's still a fun romp with some great songs, some decent animation, and enough originality to make the otherwise relatively cookie-cutter plot move along at a solid pace. Not bad at all.