‘Trolls Band Together’ Interview with director Walt Dohrn: From boyband reunions to psychedelic adventures

Trolls Band Together promises a colourful, psychedelic journey with Poppy and Branch. Find out behind the scenes gems in my interview with film director Walt Dohrn. The film’s quirky storyline and eccentric moments, like Bridget’s balloon wedding dress, add to the delightful experience. It encourages valuing harmony over perfection, and sheds light on the pursuit of fame. With music at its core, the film offers a unique cinematic adventure. It will rock UK cinemas on 20th October 2023.

Trolls band together movie collage walt dohrn

Q: I’m glad the Trolls are back. Each theme feels fresh. What inspired the theme of brotherhood? 

WD: It stemmed from a suggestion to explore Branch’s family tree. We imagined an unknown brother, sparking the idea. They were in a family boy band together. We started toying with that idea. That was the seed of the idea. But when we came up with this, it was the beginning of the pandemic and we were either stuck with our family or away from them. That really permeated in what the film is about. How irreplaceable your family is. Also, how hard it is sometimes to have a family. I have two sisters and a brother. All those siblings’ dynamics. All our film producers have similar family dynamics. 

Q: The elder brother shoulders a heavy responsibility. Did you draw from personal experience? 

 WD: Yes, I’ve witnessed similar dynamics with my older siblings, as has my wife with hers.

Q: Two brothers undergo drastic personality shifts after leaving the band, while the gentle one remains unchanged. Why? 

WD: Playing with the 90s boy band concept was fun. Each member has distinct identities. The gentler brother shares a connection with Branch, portrayed by Troye Sivan with a blend of gentleness and sass, especially with the villains. He’s also got some good one-liners. 

Q: The film hints at a proposal. Are Branch and Poppy getting married in the next movie? 

 
WD: You’ll have to wait and see. It’s a fun moment, allowing the audience to experience their evolving relationship. They are officially a couple in this film with their couple name #broppy, so it is fun to see their relationship evolve and watch Branch grow and understand what it means to be in a relationship, to be in a partnership with someone. 
 

Q: “We do not need to be perfect as long as we are in harmony” is a powerful message. How does this apply to children facing conflicts in their families or relationships? 

 
WD: It’s a great question. Harmony is crucial. Kids often strive for perfection, especially on social media. The film emphasises the value of harmony and connection over perfection. I see it with my own kids between the ages 6 and 20. I have seen strive for perfection. Even on social media, we want to put this perfect image of ourselves out. That’s not what the film is about. We see some characters striving for perfection but this is not what’s important. Being in harmony and being together, having connections with people not being the perfect thing, that’s super important and i am glad the message is coming through. 
 

Q: The evil brothers steal talent. What message do you hope to convey about the dark side of celebrity culture?

WD: Another great question and we talked about the pursuit of fame that can only be empty. It’s not something that will bring you love and connections with others. True artistry requires dedication and effort. It’s about expressing oneself and putting in the work. What I really want to talk about is that being a musician, a performer, an artist takes a tremendous amount of work. So we could not villainise people who do not want to put the work in. They don’t want to take the effort, they just want to be famous. This is not what it’s about. It’s about finding a way to express yourself and putting in the work year after year. 

 

Q: The cameo appearance of ‘N Sync was a fun moment. How did it come about? 

WD: Justin Timberlake wanted to reunite the band, creating a unique and enjoyable moment.

 

Q: Music plays a central role in the film and in all Trolls animations before. What inspires you musically? 

 
WD: Music is a constant in these films and in my life. I have music constantly playing whether it’s at the dentist office, in the shower, in the car. It’s such a beautiful abstract art form that is pure delight. In our movies, music is fun. At my core, I grew up with The Beatles. I get it from many people. Their message was love. That’s what i was drawn to. I love the rebellious nature of music and even the Beatles and how they get the norm of society’s thinking and their message was love. 

Q: The Trolls movies aren’t traditional sequels. How do they evolve? 

 

WD: While they feature familiar characters, each film introduces new stories and characters, offering fresh experiences.

 

The story

After two films of true friendship and relentless flirting, Poppy and Branch are now officially, finally, a couple (#broppy)! As they grow closer, Poppy discovers that Branch has a secret past. He was once part of her favourite boy-band phenomenon, BroZone, with his four brothers: Floyd, John Dory, Spruce and Clay. BroZone disbanded when Branch was still a baby, as did the family, and Branch hasn’t seen his brothers since. But when Branch’s bro Floyd is kidnapped for his musical talents by a pair of nefarious pop-star villains — Velvet and Veneer—Branch and Poppy embark on a harrowing and emotional journey to reunite the other brothers and rescue Floyd from a fate even worse than pop-culture obscurity.

The trailer 

 

The verdict  

Get set for a wildly colourful and psychedelic journey in the third instalment of the Trolls series, Trolls Band TogetherAnna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return as Poppy and Branch in this comical boy-band reunion tale. This time, the Trolls are taking family entertainment to a whole new level.

In this whimsical narrative, Branch’s hidden past as a member of the legendary boy-band ‘BroZone’ comes to light. When his brother Floyd is kidnapped by the talentless Velvet and Veneer, who are using his abilities for a singing contest, it’s up to BroZone to reunite and save the day. The plot is deliberately absurd, providing a platform for a flurry of boy-band jokes, with Timberlake even reuniting with his ‘NSync crew for the film’s catchy title track, ‘Better Place.’

The film’s quirkiness doesn’t end with the storyline; it’s woven into every scene. A standout moment of eccentricity is Bridget’s balloon wedding dress, reminiscent of the unconventional Björk on the red carpet, with a surprise reveal of a bold trouser suit and roller skates. Trolls Band Together revels in its own peculiar, candyfloss-coloured weirdness, so don’t forget your sunglasses.

While it may not be your typical family flick, Trolls Band Together offers a distinct and fanciful cinematic experience. It’s a captivating mix of music, humour, and pure, unadulterated oddity. So, prepare to plunge head-first into this delightful, psychedelic world from tomorrow 20th October 2023.

Kids’s club child reporter Elisabetta Calace’s verdict

“This epic movie starts with a flashback revealing Branch’s four brothers and their band called Brozone! After baby Branch’s first show, the band fell apart as the oldest brother {John Dory} was desperately pushing the others to reach the “perfect family harmony” but they failed spectacularly, and all went their separate ways, leaving little Branch alone to grow with his grandma. 

Many years later, John Dory shows up out of the blue to tell Branch that Floyd – Branch’s favourite brother – got kidnapped by rogue pop superstars Velvet and Veneer due to his fantastic voice and could only be saved by the “perfect family harmony”. From this point on all the brothers needed to put in some effort to reunite and save Floyd. 

They searched for all their other siblings and successfully found them but on their last stop when they were finding Clay {their other brother}, Poppy found out she had a long-lost sister called Viva. Eventually, they all got together to save their brother and eventually Poppy and Branch became a couple. 

Trolls Band Together is a great movie overall! Children will love the vibrant colours and the thrilling action. The uplifting pop music will boost the kid’s energy. Lastly, the touching message is to always love your friends and family and that we do not need to be perfect to be in harmony.  I think families will have a great time watching this movie!”.

 

London Mums’ rating: 8/10  

Kids’ Club rating: 9/10 

 

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