The new Trolls movie received some mixed reviews around my house. Both of my children (a teenage girl and a pre-teen boy) enjoyed it. They laughed a lot, sang some, and even danced occasionally.
My husband didn’t enjoy this movie at all. He said something about it being too colorful and loud–like a disco ball exploded on the TV. He is old and crusty. I was neither wowed nor bothered by the movie, but I didn’t begrudge the $20 I spent on it. I would watch it again!
I also thought it had some lessons we can all apply to our lives to make them a little brighter and a bit more fun! Consider this your official SPOILER ALERT!
Poppy and the other trolls learn that they are not the only trolls in existence when Barb (the Queen of the Rock Trolls) invites them to a party. She claims the party will unite all the trolls and their musical genres. Poppy’s dad tells them a story of how there are six magical guitar strings. In his rendition of the story, each leader took their guitar string and moved on when the genres started to grow intolerant of each other’s music.
Branch, and Poppy’s father, caution her against accepting the invite, but Poppy thinks blending all music will be great for her legacy as Queen. Little does she know that Barb wants to replace all the other music with Rock (I mean Rock is the best…but I digress.) Poppy would also like for things to be the same, but she isn’t as diabolical about it. She doesn’t realize that differences are significant, and this is the first lesson we learn from the movie.
“Denying our differences is dying the truth of who we really are.” –King Quincy
Also read: Top 9 inspirational movies from a true movie lover
Celebrate our differences
Learning to celebrate our differences, not just acknowledge them, was the message filmmakers wanted to bring home. They succeeded in the most glittery and over the top way possible! Poppy and Branch have different personalities, yet they can, and have been great friends. Then they realize that their differences are what they love about one another.
Each of the six troll kingdoms has different musical tastes, but they all come together in the end for the most epic party ever. Poppy and Barb have more in common than they think they do, and maybe can even be friends.
I think, as a society, we are getting better at acknowledging and accepting our differences, but we still have a long way to go in regards to celebrating them. You might be wondering how you can celebrate diversity? After all, “A world where everyone sounds the same, and looks the same, is not harmony!” Here are a few ideas:
- Play a game or listen to music with a friend who has a different cultural background than you do.
- Watch an international movie with a group of friends.
- Invite a friend over who has a different culture than you do and cook a traditional meal. (I love getting together with my midwestern friends and making homemade cannoli!)
“In the beginning, we were divided; our ancestors thought we were too different to get along. It turns out they were wrong.” –Poppy
Maybe you are a die-hard rocker with a country music fan friend. See a concert together and dinner, it will be worth the time spent seeing your friend happy!
We could all be better friends and do a better job listening
Poppy is so determined that she can make everything better, that she doesn’t listen to Branch, or any of her friends, for that matter. She makes a promise to Biggie to protect him and the whole kingdom. However, she spends most of the movie, ignoring their input and fighting with them. At one point, Biggie is so disappointed in her leadership that he floats down the river leaving his friends behind.
“How are you suppose to save the world, and you can’t even keep us safe?” –Biggie
However, when he arrives back at the kingdom, it is in ruins, and he realizes that he might have acted hastily in abandoning his friends. He rallies the remaining trolls and goes back to help Poppy and Branch. There is a heartwarming moment when Biggie and Poppy are reunited, and they admit they both could have handled their disagreement better.
Barb and Poppy view one another as adversaries, yet they bond while discussing the difficulties they face trying to be the best leaders for their kingdoms.
“I shouldn’t have left her. She wouldn’t have left me. Never. No matter how scared she was.” – Biggie
By listening to each other, each of the trolls demonstrates a valuable lesson we can apply to our relationships. Showing empathy and active listening skills will help us all to be better friends. And friends can be an infinite source of happiness and joy.
“You want to be a good Queen? Good Queens actually listen.” – Branch
Music has the power to make evoke emotion
“Oh, they must not know music is supposed to make you happy. That is awful.” – Poppy
Music can bring joy or stir up other feelings like sadness and love. According to DNews, “You’re following these tunes and anticipating what’s going to come next and whether it’s going to confirm or surprise you, and all of these little cognitive nuances are what’s giving you this amazing pleasure,” said Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal. “The reinforcement or reward happens almost entirely because of dopamine.”
That is the scientific reason for why music is supposed to make you happy! The movie uses Pop melodies to express things like happiness and fun. Delta Dawn, a country music troll that Poppy and friends meet on their journey, thinks that all this happy music is terrible, and feels personally attacked, so much so that she has Poppy and her friends jailed!
According to findings published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, music can make people feel seven different things, one of those being solace. People who want to feel solace are looking for music that makes them feel understood and less alone. Like a country song, where someone leaves someone else and even takes the dog. We don’t want to think this kind of thing only happens to us, so we are looking for solace.
“I want you three to sit in here and think about what you just done. That was a crime against music.” – Delta Dawn
In the movie, music does more than stir emotion; it provides the trolls with their colors. Poppy releases all the trolls from their rock zombie trance by smashing Barb’s guitar, but that also makes all their colors disappear! The loss of color saddens all the trolls, especially Barb and Poppy. Suddenly, Cooper hears his heartbeat over the microphone and realizes that we each have the power to create music (and restore our color and happiness).
Of course, the movie has a happy ending, and Barb accepts Poppy’s offer of friendship. We also learn that the Pop Trolls initially tried to take all the strings and command music for themselves, by remixing all the different sounds. Branch is finally able to confess his feelings for Poppy, and she reveals that she feels the same way. There is more music and singing and dancing.
In the end, only you can decide what you think of this exceptionally musical and colorful film. The kids will love it, and maybe, they will take away some of these lessons. After all, we can all benefit from celebrating our differences. Using active listening more and being better friends, and stopping to jam out every once in a while, won’t hurt anyone either! Except for my cranky old husband, he disagrees with me, but I am trying to celebrate his differences. So, ROCK ON and remember:
“Whether your song is sad or heartfelt, loud and defiant, or warm and funky, or even if you’re a little bit of each. It’s all these sounds and all our differences that make the world a richer place. Because you can’t harmonize alone.” –Poppy