Sequel to 2016's "Trolls" features wall-to-wall pop music hits

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If anything, "Trolls World Tour" is a triumph of music licensing.

The sequel to 2016's "Trolls" features a rainbow of pop music earworms, from Daft Punk to Scorpions to Cyndi Lauper to Chic to Deee-Lite, and that's just in the film's chaotic first few minutes. The lawyers involved for all parties are the real heroes here. 

I mention music first because "Trolls World Tour" is strictly a music-first proposition: In terms of priorities, story and character lag far behind the film's soundtrack and its visual template.

Luckily those songs are catchy enough and its look — it exists in a world of cloth materials and quilted patchworks, like it takes place inside one of your grandmother's blankets — that its nonsensical story doesn't detract from the overall experience.

About that story: we learn that the "Trolls" world is divided into six sects, all based on musical genres. There's the techno, country, rock, classical, funk and pop territories; oddly, hip-hop warrants only a passing mention in this universe.

Rock n' roll troll Barb (voice of Rachel Bloom) is out to rule all the kingdoms and turn the trolls world into one big mosh pit; it's up to Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) to stop her by going on a musical journey and collecting magical pieces of string from each of the lands, blah blah blah.  

What we have here is a journey about people's (or Trolls', if you will) differences, the musical genres acting as stand-ins for various cultures. And it doesn't take a music major to guess it's all gonna end in a climactic mash-up featuring the best of all worlds, in one big musical triumph that shows that despite our differences, we're all the same inside. 

It's a good lesson, if not the most original, but it's delivered in an upbeat package with an eye-popping color palate. Its energy never lets up and it remains relentlessly positive, even if that positivity is often manic.

"Trolls World Tour" is the equivalent of jazz fingers being mercilessly waved in your face: sure it's annoying, but after awhile you can't help but smile.   

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Trolls World Tour'

GRADE: B-

Rated PG: for some mild rude humor

Running time: 91 minutes

On VOD

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