Is this “Holiday Special” worth the glitter?
Overview (Possible Spoilers Below)
Two primary races exist known as The Trolls and The Bergens. The Trolls are a race of small, happy & carefree creatures while the towering Bergen’s are not. Because of this, the Bergen’s fanatically believed that eating a Troll on a specific holiday called “Trollstice” was their only way to attain “true happiness”. That is until the events of the first film where an idealistic Troll Princess named Poppy (Voiced by Anna Kendrick) with the combined efforts of her friends including a kind-hearted Bergen named Bridgette (voiced by Zooey Deschanel) managed to resolve this problem with Poppy & Bridgette both becoming Queens to their respective Kingdoms in the process.
Because of this peaceful co-existence, “Trollstice” is now a thing of the past, but now Bergen-Town has no other holidays to celebrate in their calendar. With Poppy recognizing this, she takes it upon herself to bring joy to the Bergens once more by pitching them all their Troll holidays & traditions they could potentially use for their town & kingdom. Of course, Poppy’s snarky & logical-foil who’s easily the best character in the show named “Branch” (voiced by Justin Timberlake) just wants Poppy to calmly think things through much to her hyper-impulsive nature. While most of the running time is spent on a few musical moments during their colorful & trippy journey, it isn’t until the third act when the plot actually starts picking up when Poppy and her Troll friends begin their presentation before the King & Bridgette.
In a long musical montage, they each offer specific holiday pitches in a scene that at first seems well-intentioned but gets overwhelmingly excessive with it’s “dramatic flair” to the point that Bridgette ends up telling them to leave. As Poppy runs away upset, The King cleans up what’s left of Poppy’s presentation and Bridgette figures out a solution to work things out between her and Poppy while Branch eventually finds Poppy and gives her some perspective in a comedic scene that I was quick to figure out the point Branch was getting across in his roundabout approach. While the ending is a little rushed, it all leads to a predictably lighthearted & cliched resolution between the two that brings joy to both.
Expectedly, NBC’s holiday special featuring the Trolls is both fluid & colorful in presentation with the two main highlights being a scene where the Trolls are briefly transformed into live-action toy versions of themselves for a random joke, and Poppy’s presentation that unleashed a display of bells & whistles despite the bad execution it had in its proceedings. The music itself is what you’d expect with its use of pop-songs that are seamlessly spliced into the story while attempting to be plot-relevant. The chemistry between Kendrick & Timberlake remains entertainingly consistent to the first film as we see genuine character progression from Branch learning to be happy again, to Poppy & Bridgette learning to connect as friends in a more mature and understanding level, because at the end of the day, friends may have fights or disagreements, but they make an effort to work things out.
Overall, If you enjoyed the 2016 animated film this special is tied with, then you’ll probably enjoy this a lot more than I did.