The sheer anarchy of this film is unbelievable. That it places all of that weirdness — musical genres in a race war; pseudo drug trips; an inferno apocalypse metal concert as the climax; a horse ass becoming a sentient character; etc. — on top of a moderately nuanced parable of diversity and tolerance is impressive.
Unfortunately, the original film’s cuddly arts-and-crafts aesthetic is significantly diminished. Scenes and characters look totally rubbery for long stretches instead of felty and tactile.
But where the film regresses in technical animation chops, it soars in visual and thematic variety. This film bounces between looks and tones at an exhausting pace. You’ll never be bored, and you’ll marvel at various color schema and visual design choices, only to be in a totally different headspace 30 seconds later.
The original was predictable but modestly effective in its emotional beats; this one is batshit but totally scattershot in its character and storytelling arcs. At least Branch and Poppy still have pretty compelling chemistry.
Last thought: Classical trolls were severely underserved by this movie.
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.