Remember in Reign of Fire when Christian Bale and Gerard Butler act out Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s lightsaber duel on the Cloud City gantry from The Empire Strikes Back? So, I just reread that opening sentence and that makes quite an assumption that you are at all familiar with the 2002 Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale vehicle, Reign of Fire. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Reign of Fire is a post-apocalyptic movie, set in the year 2020, where dragons rule the earth and human beings are bunkered down, fighting for their very existence.
The reason I bring up that particular scene is it shows us how, in that world, stories were kept alive, even though the characters have no access to televisions or DVD players. (Even if they did, the characters would still be stuck with The Special Edition versions of Star Wars, just like we are. I assume Bale and Butler skip the CGI Jabba scene from A New Hope.) Instead, the stories have to be acted out to pass them on, as Bale’s character even takes full credit for coming up with the story in front of all the wide-eyed youngsters gathered to watch. I feel that, in our reality right now, the movie that’s acted out in our future won’t be The Empire Strikes Back. If humanity almost fully collapses, future children will gather around and watch adults act out Trolls World Tour.
I never saw the first Trolls. Before I watched Trolls World Tour, I had no idea what happened in the first movie and, now, after watching Trolls World Tour, I still don’t. The only thing that matters are the events of Trolls World Tour. (Maybe it’s fitting because I saw The Empire Strikes Back before I ever saw the original Star Wars. I digress.) I long resisted the temptations of Trolls World Tour (well, for three days or so anyway; but it sure feels a lot longer than three days so I’m going to pretend I held out for a month) before finally succumbing to its beautiful siren song of “new content.”
It certainly feels like an important movie. The gist being that it’s the first movie that was slated for a theatrical release that, instead of delaying indefinitely, wound up being, instead, pumped straight into our homes, in exchange for a monetary fee. And there is something kind of exciting about watching it at home in a, “Oh, this was supposed to be in theaters right now” kind of way. Universal issued a press release on Monday that claimed it was their biggest digital release of all time. There are no specific numbers attached, but I don’t doubt this is true since everyone seems to have Trolls World Tour madness right now – which is why I watched it in the first place so I could at least understand all the future Trolls World Tour pop culture references for the rest of my life.
Is this a game-changer? You know what, I doubt it. I think people are just bored. If I could have done anything other than watch Trolls World Tour that involved leaving my apartment, I certainly would have. If literally one bar were open in New York City and it were safe to go there, I’d be there right now instead of writing about Trolls World Tour. But, guess what? I’m currently writing about Trolls World Tour and, I have to admit, enjoying myself while doing it.
And the funny thing about Trolls World Tour is, in a normal headspace, there’s no way I’d enjoy this movie. I’m still self-aware enough to know this about myself. But, in my current headspace, I found myself loving it and having a million questions about it: Why are the rock music trolls so adamant that everyone must love rock music? Why is the smooth jazz bounty hunter treated so unfairly since smooth jazz is a calming agent we probably could all use more of right now. I demand justice for the smooth jazz bounty hunter! He got a raw deal. Then he swore he’d be back, but I sure didn’t see him again. If there were a $20 option for a Trolls World Tour: Smooth Jazz Bounty Hunter movie, I’d buy it right now. (Somewhat related: I listen way too much to the Yacht Rock Sirius station these days.) Then I’d happily write, oh, 705 words about it (so far). Look, I am in desperate need for entertainment and if Trolls World Tour is all you’re selling, well, right now, I’m buying. And here’s another thing: I like everything right now. There are no bad movies. If your piece of entertainment can knock off a couple hours of my day, that’s literally all I’m asking for right now.
Would I buy Trolls World Tour on demand under normal circumstances? No. Or, if other movies were also released and competing against it? Well, right now, I’d probably wind up eventually getting to it. But, that’s why I’m not so sure the current idea that “this is our future” is accurate.
Oh, sure, there will be, and should be, adjustments to theatrical windows and stuff like that. But I’m not sure this is the right time to judge the future of skipping theaters all together when a movie like Trolls World Tour has my undivided attention. Because, hopefully, a day will come again when Trolls World Tour is not the cultural event of our lifetime. But, for now, it is. And I suppose there’s also the chance, a few years from now, Christian Bale and Gerard Butler will be acting out the scene where Queen Poppy and Queen Barb have their climatic showdown to decide who rules music forever. (Also, I should note, I really miss leaving my apartment and “doing things.” But, in the meantime, long live Trolls World Tour.)
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.