For the species of the same name, see Trolls (species).

Trolls is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film based on the dolls of the same name by Thomas Dam. It was directed by Mike Mitchell with co-direction by Walt Dohrn, produced by Gina Shay, and written by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, and Erica Rivinoja. The film stars Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christine Baranski, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand, Jeffrey Tambor and James Corden. It revolves around two Trolls on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Bergens.

Produced as the 33rd full-length animated feature by DreamWorks Animation, the film was released on November 4, 2016, by 20th Century Fox, it followed the production of their previous Trolls concept. A sequel, Trolls World Tour, was released on April 10, 2020.

Synopsis

20 years after the Trolls escaped from the Bergens, who eat Trolls as they believe it makes them happy, Princess Poppy throws a party that attracts the attention of banished Bergen Chef, who captures her friends. Feeling responsible, Poppy enlists paranoid disgruntled survivalist Branch to go along with her on a quest to save Troll Village's population from the Bergens. Their king, King Gristle Jr., plans to serve the Trolls to his kingdom, oblivious to the romantic infatuation towards him by the scullery maid Bridget.

Plot

The Trolls are small colorful creatures who live in an almost perpetual state of happiness, singing, dancing, hugging, and having fun all day. However, they are discovered by the Bergens, large, ugly miserable creatures, who can only feel happy by eating a Troll. The Bergens imprison the Trolls and eat them every year on a special occasion, called Trollstice. The Trolls, led by their king, King Peppy, with his baby daughter, Princess Poppy, escape through tunnels on the day of Trollstice, when Prince Gristle was going to eat his first Troll. Enraged, Prince Gristle’s father King Gristle Sr. banishes his Chef, who was in charge of preparing for Trollstice. Chef promises to leave and find the Trolls herself.

20 years later, the now-adult Poppy is retelling the story of how they escaped to a group of young Trolls from a scrapbook. She tells them that she plans to throw a big party to celebrate the Trolls' escape, despite the warnings from the over-cautious and egotistical gray troll, Branch, that loud parties will attract the Bergens. A "Zen" Troll named Creek, who is Poppy's crush, arrives and tells Branch to start being happy instead of being grumpy; Branch refuses. At the party, Branch's warnings come true, when Chef sees the fireworks and kidnaps Poppy's friends Guy Diamond, Biggie with Mr. Dinkles, Fuzzbert, Smidge, Satin and Chenille, DJ Suki, and Cooper, along with Creek, despite Poppy trying to rescue him and King Peppy. Chef then takes the kidnapped Trolls back to Bergen Town, while secretly plotting to overthrow its monarchy as revenge for her exile.

Alone inside the bunker, Branch looks at a bunch of homemade party invitations, indicating that he appreciates Poppy's offers of friendship, has an unrequited love for her, and that internally would like to have fun with the rest of the Trolls. Meanwhile, Poppy goes on a rescue mission alone, as no other Troll is willing to venture to Bergen Town, including Branch. But later on, when Poppy gets into trouble, she's saved by Branch, who thinks she won't make it if she goes alone.

Once inside the Bergen Castle, Poppy and Branch witness Creek getting force-fed to the now-King Gristle Jr. by Chef, but Poppy remains hopeful that Creek survived. Poppy and Branch find the rest of the captured Trolls being guarded by a scullery maid named Bridget (perjoratively called "Idget" by Chef). Poppy discovers that Bridget is secretly in love with King Gristle Jr., and offers to help her get a date with him while trying to confirm if Creek is alive.

While setting Bridget up for the date with a musical number, Branch refuses to sing and triggers an argument with Poppy, revealing that, as a child, his grandmother was captured and got eaten while trying to save him, because his singing compromised his location to Chef. Branch's complete guilt over his grandmother's death caused his color to turn from blue to gray.

After Poppy comforts him with a hug, Branch decides to help Bridget and the Trolls, though he still refuses to sing. Bridget, disguised under the name of "Lady Glittersparkles", gets her date with Gristle Jr. at a roller rink and arcade restaurant, and Gristle Jr. asks her to be his "plus one" at Trollstice. Poppy notices Creek being held captive inside the jewel adorning Gristle's mantle.

Having helped Bridget, the Trolls attempt to rescue Creek from Gristle's room and take his jewel, but discover that it's empty. The Trolls are then captured by Chef, and Poppy gets shocked to discover that Creek sold them out to the Bergens to spare himself from being eaten. Creek lures out every Troll from Troll Village (via Poppy's cowbell), and they're captured by Chef and the other Bergen cooks. With all the Trolls captured, thrown into a pot, and soon to be eaten, a heartbroken Poppy becomes sad and falls into despair after she had been betrayed by her crush, and loses hope as she and all the other Trolls turn gray.

Branch, even though he's gray, tries to sing "True Colors" for Poppy to cheer her up, and also confesses his love for her. Poppy, after regaining her colors and realizing Branch actually cares for her, joins in his song as this makes him happy and he shows his True Colors. As the two dance and sing together, the other Trolls get a sense of renewed hope and regain their colors.

Bridget frees the Trolls from the pot, willing to sacrifice herself. Poppy cannot bring herself to abandon Bridget after her sacrifice that is sure to doom her life, and with Branch and her friends, shows the Bergens that Bridget was Lady Glittersparkles, and that it's not necessary to eat Trolls to be happy, and they too, can find happiness within themselves.

The vengeful Chef refuses to accept the peace and tries to kill the Trolls, but is knocked into the pot and sent rolling out of Bergen Town. Chef is set on fire with Creek, who was still in her fanny pack. Both species celebrate, bringing new life to the town and renewing the life of the Troll Tree. Poppy is then declared queen of the Trolls, and shares a hug with Branch.

In a mid-credits scene, the pot Chef and Creek are on stops rolling. Chef prepares to eat Creek herself, but they soon find out that they're on top of a hill monster, who opens its mouth and eats them both.

Cast

Trolls

In some versions of the movie, Harper is referred to as "Painter Troll", while Aspen, Moxie, Cookie and Mandy are left unnamed despite their voice actors being credited as having spoken lines.

Bergens

Other

Production

The production of Trolls came after previous development of a DreamWorks Trolls film was abandoned.

2013

In May 2013, DreamWorks Trolls was noted to have been pushed back for a year to November 4, 2016. 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 will present the origin of the Trolls' colorful hair. On June 17, 2013 it was confirmed Netflix and DreamWorks made a deal to bring 300 hours of animated content to the service provide from the movies Shrek, Madagascar and Trolls.[1]

The lead artist Timothy Lamb was brought onto the project in 2013.[2]

2014

On June 16, 2014, Anna Kendrick joined the cast to voice Poppy, a princess.[3]

Trademark activity was quite notable in late 2014 and early 2015, even without character name trademarking being accounted. On July 17, 2014, the first logo related to the movie was trademarked. DreamWorks had continued to go with the early name of DreamWorks Trolls on November 13, 2014. Both of these versions had prototype logos filed with them.

The name "DreamWorks Trolls: Cupcakes and Rainbows" was filed as a trademark on December 3, 2014. The logo included in this version bares resemblance to one of Poppy's hairstyles in early concept art, and was likely related to the confirmed TV Series for Trolls, later confirmed to be titled DreamWorks Trolls: The Beat Goes On!. The show was confirmed by one of its animators Jim Mortensen, being worked upon parallel with the movie.[4]

2015

The name "Good Luck Trolls was filed on January 14, 2015 and another logo was made. However, it's unknown if it is related to the moviem as DreamWorks would later release a separate brand of Trolls merchandise with that name under the umbrella branding of "Dreamworks Trolls".

On September 15, 2015, Deadline.com reported that Justin Timberlake will voice a character named Branch. The full cast announced their respective roles via announcements on Twitter on January 6, 2016.[5]

2016

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

On January 28, 2016, a teaser trailer was released on YouTube.

On February 4, 2016, DreamWorks trademarked the film under the term "DreamWorks Trolls" for toys and playthings, clothing, children's books and downloadable software. This also confirmed they had gone with the name "DreamWorks Trolls" as a name for the movie.

In April 21st, 2016, trademarks for the movie were made for lotions, toys and playthings and food items.

On June 29, 2016, the film's first trailer was released online.

2017

Trolls was released on Digital HD in January 24, 2017, and on DVD and Blu-ray in February 7, 2017.

Development

Themes

The main theme of the movie is about the lengths some go to to obtain and maintain happiness, as stated in the movie's marketing and books such as The Art of DreamWorks Trolls.

The Bergens are the main focus of this theme, and it comes in several forms: being willing to eat sentient creatures (the Trolls), Chef wanting to use happiness to have power over her fellow Bergens, Bridget wanting King Gristle Jr.'s love, and King Gristle Jr. believing that there's only one way to be happy, which is eating a Troll. With this, the cost of happiness comes at a price to the Trolls and the Bergens. The Bergens themselves fail to acknowledge that they can be happy without Trolls, as happiness is already inside of them. They're also left unhappy constantly, and can easily be manipulated so long as happiness is promised.

For the Trolls, they represent in the movie happiness itself. They fear Bergens, as their happiness costs the Trolls their liberty, but gives the Bergens an expectation that once a year they can stop being miserable. Their carefree nature means they're naturally happy and lack sadness nor want of it, making Branch the only grey and sad Troll.

Related to this happiness are smaller themes such as social status. Bridget's position as scullery maid leaves her unable to believe her happiness with King Gristle Jr. can never be obtained due to her low rank. Meanwhile, Branch's greyness is unattractive to the other Trolls and his paranoia a subject of ridicule. Branch also gives a small theme of being a Troll who lets his own past experiences deny himself happiness, and is the only Troll from the Trollstice days left with bad experiences hanging over him. Thus, Branch represents self-punishment and guilt, being a denier of happiness.

But happiness is not without its own flaws, and the movie also shows a few negative sides to being happy. As previously mentioned, Chef "controls" the happiness of her fellow Bergens using the Trolls as a means to get what she wants. For the Trolls themselves, one of their most cherished members Creek, who was believed to the most positive Troll in the village but is actually a coward and a traitor, is willing to sacrifice the entire population to stay alive at the cost of their happiness. Poppy also shows blissful ignorance at her party by not treating the Bergens as a threat; thus, her happiness put herself and her fellow Trolls in danger. When it happens, Poppy decides to fix her error and tries to save her captive friends, but after Creek betrayed her and the Snack Pack, she's so distraught at the fact that she and the rest of the Trolls are as good as dead; all the color drain from her body, leaving her looking like Branch., with all the other Trolls following suit.

Character Development

General

The main character of the movie was decided upon being named "Poppy" after the color "poppy pink". Originally, they went for a more 1980s-style of character design, but rejected it for a more ugly-cute style as it gave more distinction in character design. As Poppy's design changed, so did the general style of the Trolls themselves, and each version of Poppy caused a different art direction. A number of artists produced designs for the concept of Poppy. Timothy Lamb's art style was chosen as the overall look. Other artists included Craig Kellman, who did a number of character studies, and Sebastian Piquet, who made color concepts, including one of Poppy's dress designs of which seemed to have been used for her appearance in Trolls: The Beat Goes On!. Priscilla Wong also did the costume that would be her royal attire in the original party scene, which would have been Poppy's coronation. Poppy had a number of dress designs which were used for a scene removed from the film. She was even at one stage considered for having a gem, but it was removed. At one point, Poppy was even supposed to be naked, but this was dropped.

Poppy was one of the first characters designed. As Poppy's design was completed, Branch became the focus. Branch was made to be her counterpart and was considered much easier to draw, since he just had to contrast Poppy's design, i.e. grey colors against Poppy's vivid pink. Similarly to Poppy, Branch had a gem in his belly button that was added and removed. His attire went through a number of alterations, but was always based upon survival-style clothing made from found items such as leaves. He was often depicted with weapons.

Cooper's design was also overhauled a number of designs, and was based on an old animal Troll doll Dam Stuff produced of a giraffe. His design went through lots of alternations, and was also produced quite early on, as his initial design matched the 1980s design Poppy had. At different points, he would look very different in design.

Satin and Chenille also had a number of design changes, and were supposed to change outfits regularly throughout the movie, but this was dropped due to costs. The twins had numerous design concepts.

The Snack Pack design comparison

By the point Cooper, Biggie, Smidge, Branch, and Poppy were at some sort of design status, they were lined up against a design chart. The print of this from The Art of DreamWorks Trolls shows that more members of The Snack Pack were originally intended; the rest weren't yet finalized. DJ Suki was originally trademarked as "DJ Harmony", but this name was changed less than a month later on February 25, 2015, when new trademarks were filed under her finalized name of "DJ Suki".

The Bergens were meant to be unattractive and miserable looking monsters that ate Trolls. Bridget and King Gristle Jr. were made short for their species, which made them unattractive to other Bergens for this reason. Gristle's direction was simply that he was spoiled and wore the same clothes as a teenager, hence they didn't fit him. Bridget's design was made alongside Zooey Deschanel's performance, so voice actress and character development were side-by-side designs. She was one of the more fun designs to come up with for the artists. Her persona "Lady Glittersparkles" was based on a 1970s diva (generally referring to a female celebrity). The Bergens in general were meant to be based on 1970s slum. Craig Kellman initially came up with the more weirder approach to the Bergens with tight clothes and high waists.

Unused Characters

Creek was meant to have a charming and handsome look, and went through several designs, many of which had his hair glistening. Grandma Rosiepuff was also added to give Branch a traumatic background. These two characters are a split of an initial character who was meant to be the one who betrayed the Trolls, Miss Guffin, until she was scrapped as she seemed too appealing and they thought she was so funny that no one could recover from her betrayal. Miss Guffin actually had a trademark in her name on January 20, 2015. Presumably she was dropped as a character by June 10, 2015 as this is the date of Creek's trademark.

A number of other characters were made for the film that did not get in: Maddy, Cybil (whose guru aspect was also reused for Creek), Aspen Heitz, Karma, Harper, the only one of these Trolls to actually appear in the movie with a background role. Aspen's design, alongside other more characters, was instead used for a Random Troll model, which appeared in the inital escape from Bergen Town.

Other

Kevan Shorey confirmed that a lot of cheating went on with the characters' models. An example was uploaded of Poppy and Branch's hug at the end of True Colors, demonstrating that Poppy's head actually moved into Branch's, but from the angle seen in the movie this wasn't apparent.[6]

World Building

The textile landscape was chosen to make the world look like it wasn't CGI and had actually been made by hand. A number of landscapes had real-life models produced to represent them and see what they look like. Early concept art didn't have this knitted-world look to it.[7]

The film used a number of textures, some of which were devised along the development of the film and thus were used by Trolls for the first time. The Trolls' habitat went through several redesigns, but mostly focused on them living in the trees.

For the Bergens, a drab palette and 1970s slum look was chosen. Overall, Bergen Town was meant to be a contrast to the forest the Trolls lived in. Initially, they were meant to have vehicles like cars and motorcycles, but none made it to the movie, though they're referenced by odd things, such as Prince Gristle's bike as a baby in the opening sequence and a tire in the Cloud Guy scene at the Tunnels of Certain Death.

The world design of Trolls wasn't allowed to touch water.[8]

Plot Changes/Scene Deletions

Original Storylines

Trolls was originally not going to be a musical.

Even after becoming a musical, the original plot was on how the Trolls gained their colorful hair, and thus was an origin story on Troll hair. Overall, what remained is that Trolls was meant to be an origin story for further installments of the franchise.

Even in the final version of the storyline, the plot would involve Poppy becoming Queen due to her father becoming senile. The 20-year party was originally going to be her coronation, but this was changed to make Peppy's character more like a wise teacher. The plot wasn't forgotten, and Peppy's former persona would be later given to King Thrash in the Trolls World Tour sequel.

As mentioned in "Character Development", Miss Guffin was meant to be the original betrayer of the Trolls, before Creek was created.

Deleted Scenes

Satin and Chenille had a scene where they showed Poppy a number of dresses they had made for her cut coronation party. The scene was cut as a feedback, after it was given a test viewing that noted how it made Poppy look spoiled.

Chef's song Bringing Back Happy was also cut from the film, being replaced with dialogue from her.

Another cut scene involved King Gristle Jr. and four Bergen Castle guards chasing down Poppy, Branch and other Trolls (though not all of them from the Snack Pack) on rollerskates after Gristle caught them out in the streets. Unlike most of the aforementioned scenes, which had been fully animated, this one was only made into an animatic.

Concept art shows that early on Branch's hair was meant to be part of the "Lady Glittersparkles" wig. In the movie, Branch isn't involved in making the wig, except when Poppy and The Snack Pack save Bridget from Chef.

Music

Movie Songs

Movie

  1. Hair Up - Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani & Ron Funches
  2. Move Your Feet / D.A.N.C.E. / It's A Sunshine Day - Anna Kendrick & Ron Funches
  3. Get Back Up Again - Anna Kendrick
  4. The Sound of Silence - Anna Kendrick
  5. Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
  6. Hello - Zooey Deschanel
  7. I'm Coming Out / Mo' Money Mo' Problems - Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Gwen Stefani, Aino jawo, Caroline Hjelt, James Corden, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar & Walt Dohrn
  8. They Don't Know - Ariana Grande
  9. True Colors - Justin Timberlake & Anna Kendrick
  10. Can't Stop the Feeling! - Justin Timberlake & Anna Kendrick

Ending Credits

  1. September - Justin Timberlake & Anna Kendrick
  2. What U Workin' With? - Gwen Stefani & Justin Timberlake

Soundtrack

See Trolls - Soundtrack.

Cut Songs

Success and Critical Response

The film itself grossed over $346 million in cinemas and made a profit of $19 million. The rest of the money grossed was taken up by its price tag of $125 million, while its global P&R costed $105 million. It made a further $170 million from TV revenues.[9]

By February 2021, Trolls made over $343 million in box office sales, both domestically and overseas, and another $71 million on home video sales, including DVD and Blu-Ray.[10]

Errors

  • An animation error occurs when Poppy says goodbye to the Trolls in Branch's bunker; King Peppy is suddenly wearing only his underwear.

Related Media & Merchandise

Trolls helped contribute to 2016 being a very successful year with licensing of movie product tie-ins. The film's merchandise was a surprising success, and it was one of the bigger launches of the year.[11] By the time approaching sequel Trolls World Tour hit, the franchise was worth $700 million.[9]

As previously noted elsewhere, the original party featured early on was meant to be Poppy's coronation. However, this was changed late into production of the movie, and many early promotional material such as books like Sing With Us! and the 2017 Trolls Annual were released with that particular plot instead of the current one. Thus, the change of plot impacted early merchandise related to the movie.

DVD, Blu-ray and 4K releases

DVD and Blu-ray releases of Trolls were both released on February 7, 2017, while the Ultra 4K HD and digital were released on January 24, 2017. Several versions have been released:

  • The normal release.
  • "Party Edition".
  • "Sing-a-long" version.
  • A special.
  • The "Happy Place Collection", which included Trolls Holiday and season 1 of Trolls: The Beat Goes On!.
  • A special 2-movie release with Trolls World Tour.
  • A Collectable Steelbook was only available from Best Buy.[12]
  • Target later ran a version that included 6 bracelets from Trolls World Tour and a $8 ticket reduction to see the movie in theatres.
  • Walmart included a version with 2 figurines.
  • Another Target version was released with a second DVD in 2017 that contained a 20-minute disc.
  • The movie was also included in the 10-movie DreamWorks collection. The other movies included were The Boss Baby, The Croods, Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, How To Train Your Dragon, Home, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Abominable.

Note that not all versions were available on all formats.

Follow Your Art

Follow Your Art was a prequel book released for Trolls by Scholastic. The protagonist of this book is Harper, and is narrated from a 1st-person point of view by both her and Poppy.

The Art of DreamWorks Trolls

The Art of DreamWorks Trolls is a book showing the various concepts of Trolls, including details of influences.[13]

Troll 2 Troll

Troll 2 Troll is a short 6-episode series that features Branch and Poppy debating about various topics. Ultimately, the debate derails due to their different personalities. The shorts were released as promotion for the movie.

Trolls Holiday

Trolls Holiday is a half-hour Christmas TV special featuring most characters (except DJ Suki, Creek and King Peppy) from the movie. It premiered on November 24, 2017 on NBC.

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!

Trolls: The Beat Goes On! is a tie-in series based on the film that involves the Trolls' everyday lives. 8 seasons of the series have been streamed on Netflix throughout from January 19, 2018 to November 22, 2019.

Books

A number of adaptations of this storyline were written by David Lewman, including Trolls: The Junior Novelization. Other books include years 2017 and 2018 of the Trolls Annual, Out of Branch's Bunker (a retelling from Branch's point of view) and a Treasure Trove adaptation. Trolls Cinestory Comic is a comic book-styled re-print of the film that uses screenshots from the film's print-out.

Jewelry

Origami Owl produced a charm series based on the film, named HAIR-RAISING, TROLL-TASTIC LOOKS.

Cosmetics

PÜR produced a tie-in named PÜR X TROLLS, which consisted solely of an eyeshadow palette with 16 colors.

Trivia

  • In the trailers, Branch is seen performing Can't Stop the Feeling! with the other Trolls, but still has his grey coloration for some reason. This was likely done to avoid spoilers.[14]
  • Unlike many other toylines that have been revamped from older decades such as My Little Pony or Transformers, the Trolls franchise has had virtually no past references to go by. The only other major project for the toyline was the animated series The Magic Trolls and the Troll Warriors. There are, however, many similarities between the plot of Trolls and the series. According to The Art of DreamWorks Trolls, the lack of a background or story for the Trolls actually gave the filmmakers a lot of room to work with.

Taglines

The creators of Shrek, invite you on a musical adventure, that proves one voice can change the world.
~ Promotional tagline
This is a story about happiness, how far some would go to get it, and how far we went to get it back.
~ Tagline by Poppy

Videos

Official Trailers

Music Videos/Credits

Movie Clips

Clip Compilations

Behind the Scenes

Promos

Deleted Scenes

Commercials

References

Trolls characters
Trolls - Main Characters
King PeppyPrincess PoppyBranchCreekCooperBiggieSmidgeGuy DiamondSatin and ChenilleDJ SukiFuzzbertGrandma Rosiepuff
Trolls - Minor Characters
HarperMoxie DewdropCookie SugarloafMandy SparkledustKeithDariusUncle Ron Sr.
The Bergens
King Gristle Jr.BridgetChefKing Gristle Sr.Chad and ToddBibblyCaptain Starfunkle
Other
Mr. DinklesCloud GuyBarnebis
Cut
Miss GuffinAspen HeitzCybilMaddyKarma
Trolls songs
Soundtrack
Hair UpCan't Stop the Feeling!Move Your Feet / D.A.N.C.E. / It's A Sunshine DayGet Back Up AgainThe Sound of SilenceHelloThey Don't KnowI'm Coming Out / Mo' Money Mo' ProblemsTrue ColorsSeptemberWhat U Workin' With?
Other
Total Eclipse of the HeartClint EastwoodDream A Little Dream Of MeCelebrationThe FakeoverI Feel LoveTheme from a Summer Place
Cut
Bringing Back Happy
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