Trolls is a 2016 American animated jukebox musical comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox, based on the Good Luck Trolls dolls created by Thomas Dam. The film was directed by Mike Mitchell and co-directed by Walt Dohrn (in his feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by the writing team of Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, based on a story by Erica Rivinoja.[6] It stars the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, John Cleese and Gwen Stefani. The film follows two trolls named Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) who go on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Bergens, giant creatures who eat Trolls to be happy.

Trolls
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay byJonathan Aibel
Glenn Berger
Story byErica Rivinoja
Based onGood Luck Trolls
by Thomas Dam
Produced byGina Shay
Starring
Edited byNick Fletcher
Music byChristophe Beck[1]
Production
company
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
Running time
93 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[3]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$125 million[4]
Box office$347 million[5]

Trolls premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on October 8, 2016,[2][7] and was theatrically released in the United States on November 4, by 20th Century Fox.[8] The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $347 million worldwide against its $125 million budget. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for "Can't Stop the Feeling!".

A sequel, Trolls World Tour, was released on April 10, 2020, while a third film, Trolls Band Together, was released on November 17, 2023.[9]

Plot edit

The Trolls are small, colorful, perpetually happy creatures who like to sing, dance, and hug all day. They are discovered by the Bergens, large, hideous and miserable creatures who believe they can only feel happy by consuming a Troll. The Bergens imprison the Trolls in a caged tree and eat them every year on a special occasion called "Trollstice". On the year that Bergen Prince Gristle Jr., son of King Gristle Sr., is due to eat his first Troll, the chef in charge of the ceremony discovers that the Trolls' leader, King Peppy, has escaped with his daughter, Princess Poppy, and the rest of the Trolls. King Gristle banishes Chef from Bergen Town, and she vows to find the Trolls, plotting to overthrow the monarchy as revenge.

20 years later, an adult Poppy organizes a gigantic party to celebrate the anniversary of their escape. A serious, gray, survivalist troll named Branch warns that this could expose their home, but everyone ignores him. His forewarnings are realized when Chef locates the Trolls' vibrant, loud, and visible party, and kidnaps Poppy's friends, including her secret crush, a "zen" troll named Creek. While the rest of the Trolls take refuge in Branch's survival bunker, who reluctantly permits them to do so, Poppy sets off alone to rescue her friends. She gets herself into several potentially deadly situations and is finally rescued by Branch, who thinks her quest is hopeless and reluctantly follows her only to escape his crowded bunker.

After arriving in Bergen Town, Poppy and Branch sneak into the castle of the now older King Gristle Jr. and see Chef serving Creek to him. Gristle appears to eat Creek, but Poppy still holds out hope that he is alive and finds the rest of the trolls guarded by a young scullery maid named Bridget. After learning that Bridget is secretly in love with Gristle, Poppy and the trolls agree to help her get a date with him in exchange for her help in ascertaining if Creek is alive. When Branch refuses to sing along with the rest in the ensuing musical number, he and Poppy argue, and he reveals that he has refused to sing ever since a Trollstice many years ago. On that day, his singing drew the attention of Chef, who found his home and took his grandmother away as she tried to protect him. Since then, he lost his happiness and turned gray. Feeling sorry, Poppy and her friends comfort him with a hug.

The trolls disguise Bridget as "Lady Glittersparkles", and she and Gristle go on a date at a roller rink/arcade restaurant. Poppy spots Creek being held captive inside a jewel on Gristle's mantle, and after the date, the trolls sneak into Gristle's room to free him, but discover the jewel empty. Chef arrives and recaptures them, and Poppy gets horrified to learn that Creek, in exchange for his own life, betrayed them to Chef. He then steals Poppy's cowbell and later uses it to summon the rest of the trolls, whom Chef captures and places in a pot to be served at the feast. Hurt that her "crush" was nothing but a cowardly traitor, Poppy and the other trolls fall into despair and turn gray.

In a moment of compassion, Branch sings to cheer Poppy up, which successfully brings back both theirs and the rest of the Trolls true colors. Bridget secretly releases them from the pot while Chef is not looking, but Poppy refuses to let her take the blame. The trolls return to Bergen Town and reveal to the Bergens that Bridget was in fact Lady Glittersparkles, and that she and Gristle are happily in love with each other, showing the Bergens that they too can find happiness within themselves. Joy is brought to Bergen Town as a result, and the Trolls and the Bergens end their feud. However, Chef refuses to accept peace, and she and Creek are sent rolling out of Bergen Town into the woods via a flaming serving cart by a well-aimed spoon thrown by Bridget. King Peppy allows Poppy to become Queen of the Trolls, and she begins a friendship with Branch as they share a hug.

In a mid-credits scene, Creek and Chef find themselves on the top of a hill, where Chef attempts to eat Creek, but the hill, which is actually a monster, eats them.

Cast edit

Anna Kendrick (Poppy) and Justin Timberlake (Branch) at the film's preview at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival[10]
  • Anna Kendrick as Princess Poppy, the excitable and optimistic princess later queen of the Trolls[8][11][12]
    • Iris Dohrn as Baby Poppy
  • Justin Timberlake as Branch, an over-cautious, unpleasant and cynical survivalist Troll who hates singing, dancing, hugging and music, after he turned gray due to his grandma's death[8][13]
    • Liam Henry as Young Branch
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse as King Gristle Jr., son of Gristle Sr, and the second King of the Bergens[14]
  • Zooey Deschanel as Bridget, a kind-hearted Bergen who works as a scullery maid to Chef[14]
  • Christine Baranski as Chef, the sadistic, cruel and power-hungry chef of the Bergens[14]
  • Russell Brand as Creek, a supposedly "zen" troll and Poppy's secret crush, who is actually a fraud.[14][15]
  • James Corden as Biggie, a large, friendly British Troll and the owner of Mr. Dinkles.[14][16]
  • Jeffrey Tambor as King Peppy, the king of the Trolls and Poppy's father
  • John Cleese as King Gristle Sr., Gristle Jr's father and the first King of the Bergens.[14]
  • Gwen Stefani as DJ Suki, a Troll who uses DJ equipment made of insects.[14][17]
  • Ron Funches as Cooper, a giraffe-like Troll who can walk on all fours, he raps and plays the harmonica[14][18]
  • Icona Pop as Satin and Chenille, twin Trolls with a flair for fashion design and are conjoined by their hair
  • Kunal Nayyar as Guy Diamond, a glittery Troll with a highly auto-tuned voice[14][19]
  • Quvenzhané Wallis as Harper, a Troll artist with heterochromia who paints with her hair[14]
  • GloZell as Grandma Rosiepuff, Branch's late grandmother who sacrificed herself when she and Branch were discovered by Chef.[20]
  • Meg DeAngelis as Moxie Dewdrop, a dancing Troll[20]
  • Ricky Dillon as Aspen Heitz, a Troll skitterboarder.[20]
  • Kandee Johnson as Mandy Sparkledust, a Troll who designs and repairs treasures[20]
  • Walt Dohrn as:[14]
    • Smidge, a small, inordinately strong female Troll with a shockingly deep voice
    • Mr. Dinkles, Biggie's pet stuffed worm.
    • Fuzzbert, a Troll whose legs are the only thing visible besides his hair
    • Cloud Guy, an anthropomorphic cloud
    • Karma
  • Grace Helbig as Cookie Sugarloaf, one of the Trolls
  • Mike Mitchell and Curtis Stone as Chad and Todd, two royal guards that work for the Bergen Royal Family
  • Rhys Darby as Bibbly, a Bergen shopkeeper of the Bib Store

Production edit

 
Director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn presented footage from the film at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International.

DreamWorks announced plans for a film based on the Troll toyline as early as 2010. This version was to be written by Adam Wilson and Melanie Wilson LaBracio.[25] By 2012, Chloë Grace Moretz had already been cast in the female lead role and Jason Schwartzman was reported to have been offered the male lead.[26] In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced that the film with the working title Trolls would be released on June 5, 2015, with Anand Tucker set to direct the film, written by Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes.[6]

By April 2013, DreamWorks Animation had acquired the intellectual property for the Trolls franchise from the Dam Family and Dam Things. Having "big plans for the franchise," DreamWorks Animation became the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights, except for Scandinavia, where Dam Things remains the licensor.[27] In May 2013, the film was pushed back for a year to November 4, 2016.[28] The same month, DreamWorks Animation announced that Mike Mitchell and Erica Rivinoja has been hired as a director and screenplay writer to "reimagine" the film as a musical comedy, which would present the origin of the Trolls' colorful hair.[29] On June 16, 2014, Anna Kendrick joined the cast to voice Poppy, a princess.[11] On September 15, 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Justin Timberlake would voice a character named Branch.[8] Timberlake previously worked with DreamWorks Animation as the voice of Arthur "Artie" Pendragon in Shrek the Third in 2007. The full cast announced their respective roles via announcements on Twitter on January 6, 2016.[30]

Music edit

Justin Timberlake served as an executive producer for the film's music and released the original song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" in conjunction with "Hello Darkness" on May 6, 2016.[31] The song reached No. 1 in the official charts of 17 countries, including the United States and Canada. In addition to Timberlake, the rest of the cast contributed to the film's soundtrack, which also features guest appearances from Earth, Wind & Fire and Ariana Grande.[32] The soundtrack album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America[33] and the Australian Recording Industry Association.[34]

Release edit

The film's opening premiere opened at the BFI London Film Festival Opening Celebration on October 8, 2016 as a special BFI presentation, and was theatrically released on November 4, 2016, in the United States by 20th Century Fox, and in the United Kingdom at an earlier date of October 21, 2016.

Marketing edit

The first teaser trailer for Trolls was officially unveiled online on January 28, 2016.[35] The following day, it would make its theatrical debut with the opening of Kung Fu Panda 3.[36] On June 29, 2016, a second trailer was then released online.[37]

DreamWorks spent an estimated $105 million promoting the film.[38]

Home media edit

Trolls was released on Digital HD on January 24, 2017, and on DVD and Blu-ray on February 7, 2017.[39] The film topped the home video sales chart for two consecutive weeks.[40][41] From June 2017 to December 2018, the film was available on Netflix, and the film returned to the streaming platform after 4 years on December 7, 2022.

Reception edit

Box office edit

Trolls grossed $153.9 million in the US and Canada and $193.2 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $347 million, against a budget of $125 million.[5] Deadline Hollywood calculated the film made a net profit of $19 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[38]

In the United States and Canada, Trolls was released alongside the releases of Doctor Strange and Hacksaw Ridge, and was projected to gross $35–40 million from 4,060 theaters in its opening weekend.[42] On its first day, the film grossed $12.3 million (including $900,000 made from Thursday night previews). It went on to open to $46.5 million, finishing second at the box office behind Doctor Strange.[43]

Critical response edit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 6.30/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents."[44] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[45] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 80% overall positive score.[43]

Lindsey Bahr of Associated Press gave the film a positive review and said, "Ultimately, the 'get happy' moral of the story, while trite compared to something like Inside Out, is sufficiently sweet enough for its audience. Did you expect more from a piece of candy?"[46] Bill Zwecker of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and said, "You simply will walk out – or perhaps dance out – of the theater feeling very happy yourself."[47] Andy Webster of The New York Times said, "Exuberant, busy and sometimes funny, DreamWorks Animation's Trolls is determined to amuse."[48]

Michael Rechtshaffen, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, called the film "an admittedly vibrant-looking but awfully recognizable animated musical comedy concoction."[2] Alonso Duralde of TheWrap said the film "combines the barely-there characterization and irritating cutesiness of The Smurfs with the hideous character design and awful pop covers of Strange Magic."[49] Betsy Bozdech of Common Sense Media gave the movie 4 stars. She said, "Make no mistake: Kids are going to love this movie. Trolls is cute, it's colorful, it has tons of catchy songs, and the messages are positive and easy to understand (happiness is inside everyone, if you know where/how to find it, and you shouldn't have to change who you are to get someone to like you)."[50]

Accolades edit

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards February 26, 2017 Best Original Song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Nominated [51]
[52]
American Music Awards November 19, 2017 Top Soundtrack Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated [53]
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Tim Lamb and Craig Kellman Nominated [54]
Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Kendal Cronkhite and Tim Lamb Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Claire Morrissey Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Zooey Deschanel Nominated
Billboard Music Awards May 21, 2017 Top Soundtrack/Cast Album Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated [55]
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Animated Feature Trolls Nominated [56]
Best Song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Nominated
Golden Globe Awards January 8, 2017 Best Original Song Nominated [57]
Grammy Awards February 12, 2017 Best Song Written for Visual Media Won [58]
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards February 16, 2017 Best Song/Recording Created for a Film Nominated [59]
Hollywood Film Awards November 6, 2016 Hollywood Song Award "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake Won [60]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 17, 2016 Best Song Written for an Animated Film "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Won [61]
[62]
Best Soundtrack From a Movie Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated
Outstanding Music Supervision – Film Justin Timberlake Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards March 5, 2017 Best Song from a Movie "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake Nominated [63]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards March 11, 2017 Favorite Animated Movie Trolls Nominated [64]
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick Nominated
Favorite Frenemies Nominated
Favorite Soundtrack Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated
Satellite Awards February 19, 2017 Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Trolls Nominated [65]
Best Original Song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Nominated
Saturn Awards June 28, 2017 Best Animated Film Trolls Nominated [66]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association December 18, 2016 Best Soundtrack Nominated [67]
Teen Choice Awards July 31, 2016 Choice AnTEENcipated Movie Nominated [68]
Choice Music: Song from a Movie or TV Show "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake Nominated
World Soundtrack Awards October 18, 2017 Best Original Song written directly for a Film "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Nominated [69]
  • Regarding music award shows, only film-related categories are included on this list.

Franchise edit

DreamWorks Trolls: The Experience was the first of multiple mobile pop-up attractions Feld Entertainment and Universal Brand Development had agreed to develop in April 2018.[70] The pop-up attraction opened in New York City on October 22, 2018.[71]

Sequels edit

On February 28, 2017, Universal Pictures, the studio's new distributor and parent company since 2016, and DreamWorks Animation announced that a sequel titled Trolls 2 would be released on April 10, 2020, with Kendrick and Timberlake reprising their roles of Poppy and Branch as well as Aibel and Berger returning to write the script.[72] On October 4, 2017, the release date for the sequel was moved up to February 14, 2020, as Fast & Furious 9 took its original April 10, 2020 slot. Along with the new release date, it was announced that Dohrn will be returning to direct and Shay will return to produce the sequel. On December 6, 2017, the film was pushed back to an April 17, 2020 release. On March 4, 2020, No Time to Die got delayed, so the film was pushed to an April 10, 2020 release again.[73]

In May 2018, it was confirmed that Sam Rockwell, Chance the Rapper, Anthony Ramos, Karan Soni, Flula Borg, and Jamie Dornan joined the cast. Corden, Icona Pop, Funches, Stefani and Nayyar will also reprise their roles.[74] In October 2018, it was confirmed that Kelly Clarkson had joined the cast, and will perform an original song.[75]

A new title for the sequel, Trolls World Tour, was announced in June 2018.[76] In May 2017, podcasters Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy began campaigning for roles in the film via a podcast titled "The McElroy Brothers Will Be in Trolls 2" (later renamed "The McElroy Brothers Will Be in Trolls: World Tour" after the sequel's subtitle was revealed).[77] Following the podcast's popularity, DreamWorks confirmed in September 2018 that the McElroy brothers would make cameo appearances in World Tour.[78]

In June 2019, along with promotional posters, new cast members had been announced, which included: J Balvin, Mary J. Blige, Rachel Bloom, George Clinton, Ester Dean and Gustavo Dudamel.[79]

On April 9, 2020, Justin Timberlake expressed interest in participating in future Trolls films during his Apple Music takeover, "I hope we make, like, seven Trolls movies, because it literally is the gift that keeps on giving".[80] On November 22, 2021, it was announced that a third Trolls film would be released in theaters on November 17, 2023.[81]

Television specials edit

Trolls Holiday is a half-hour[82] television special that aired on November 24, 2017 on NBC.[83] Poppy realizes that the Bergens have no holidays to celebrate. She enlists Branch and their friends (the Snack Pack) to show their best friend Bridget and other Bergens the importance of holidays. Most of the original cast (including Kendrick, Timberlake, Deschanel, Mintz-Plasse, Corden, Funches, Nayyar and Dohrn) all reprise their roles from the film. The likely-Christmas Special is also directed by Crawford and written by Josh Bycel & Jonathan Fener with music by Jeff Morrow.[82] Its soundtrack album that features seven songs was released on October 27, 2017.[84] It is now available on Netflix and on DVD by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The bonus features of the DVD also include one episode of Spirit Riding Free and two of Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh.

A second special, Trolls: Holiday in Harmony, aired on November 26, 2021.

Animated series edit

A 52-episode animated series based on the film, entitled Trolls: The Beat Goes On! that airs on Netflix premiered on January 19, 2018 and ran for 8 seasons.[85][86] The show stars Amanda Leighton as Poppy, Skylar Astin as Branch, and Funches who is reprising his role as Cooper, and Dohrn reprising his role as Cloud Guy.[87]

Following the release of Trolls World Tour, another animated series, titled Trolls: Trollstopia, was released on Peacock and Hulu in 2020.

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