From a strictly film viewpoint, I think it's about time Dreamworks hung up the Trolls franchise. Trolls Band Together, the third outing, is as colorful and glittery as the last ones, but the characters seem to have nowhere to go. But they will pull themselves out of their comfort zones for family.
That being said, kids will still enjoy the upbeat music and dancing resulting in wanting Tiny Diamond (voiced by Kenan Thompson) dolls for Christmas. And they'll even get a good dose of a message they need so desperately to hear in today's results-oriented culture: you don't have to be perfect to be in harmony with others.
Queen Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) finds out her boyfriend, Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake) was once a member of her favorite boy band of yesteryear, BroZone, together with his four brothers, John Dory, Floyd, Spruce, and Clay (voiced by Eric André, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs, and Kid Cudi respectively). But he's never even mentioned them to her.
When John Dory shows up on Branch's doorstep, Branch is not welcoming. Years ago, after a botched performance when Branch was only a child, BroZone disbanded and all his brothers left him. Kind of ironic since the opposite happened when Timberlake left *NSYNC to launch his solo career.
Boy Band BroZone in "Trolls Band Together." © 2023 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.
Family bonds are strong despite the hurt Branch still feels and when John Dory tells him that Floyd has been kidnapped for his talent, Branch sets aside his resentment and joins John Dory to get the band back together, for "perfect family harmony" is the only thing strong enough to break Floyd's diamond prison.
Refreshingly free of most of the current cultural craziness that has become so common, even in kids movies, that can make many faith-focused parents flinch, Trolls Band Together makes for a fun outing for the kids. Those who grew up in the 90's may cringe at way the writers tried to get the name of every boy band into the script but will appreciate the first *NSYNC song to be recorded in two decades, "Better Place."
Trolls dancing in "Trolls Band Together." © 2023 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.
The subplots of the film tend to take away from the main one, like the wedding of Bergen King Gristle (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Bridget (voiced by Zooey Deschanel). Then, while Poppy and Branch journey, they run across an enclave of trolls who haven't been clued into the fact that Bergen don't eat trolls anymore, led by none other than Poppy's unknown sister, Viva (voiced by Camila Cabello).
Anna Kendrick as Poppy and Camila Cabello as Viva in "Trolls Band Together." © 2023 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.
The filmmakers have also branched out into embracing a variety of animation styles to offset all the felt in the Troll world. Doing "The Hustle" results in traditional 2-D animation sequences. The main villains, Velvet and Veneer (voiced by Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells respectively) are drawn like stick figures with big shoes and faces that will surely make good product tie-ins.
Amy Schumer as Velvet and Andrew Rannells as Veneer in "Trolls Band Together." © 2023 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.
The greatest asset of the movie lies in the emphasis that perfection isn't a requirement for harmony. When John Dory demanded perfection of BroZone and they didn't have it, the brothers went their own way, frustrated and resentful. In order to rescue Floyd, they needed to learn that their harmony comes from accepting and loving each other as they are, with all their quirks and imperfections. Only in love could they produce the imperfect harmony that makes healing and forgiveness possible. Parents would do well to show their children they don't have to be perfect to be loved and to assure them that God, especially, but also significant adults in their lives, love them just as they are.