Trolls (film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Gina Shay[1]
Screenplay by
Story by Erica Rivinoja[1]
Based on Troll dolls
by Thomas Dam
Music by Christophe Beck[2]
Cinematography Yong Duk Jhun
Edited by Nick Fletcher
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
Running time
93 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $125 million[4]
Box office $296.7 million[5]

Trolls is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film based on the dolls of the same name created by Thomas Dam. The film was directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and based on a story by Erica Rivinoja. The film features the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, and Gwen Stefani. The film revolves around two trolls on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Bergens, creatures who devour trolls.

Produced as the 33rd animated feature film by DreamWorks Animation, the film premiered on October 8, 2016 at the BFI London Film Festival[6][3] and was theatrically released in the United States on November 4, 2016 by 20th Century Fox.[7] The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $296 million worldwide against its $125 million budget.


The Trolls are small creatures who live in an almost perpetual state of happiness, singing, dancing, and hugging all day long. However, they are discovered by the Bergens, large creatures who never feel happy but discover that they can feel happy for a moment if they eat a Troll. The Bergens put the Trolls and their tree in a cage, and hold an annual festival in which each Bergen gets its feeling of happiness by eating a Troll. However, the Trolls, led by their King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor), escape through underground tunnels on the day that the Bergen crown Prince Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) would eat his first Troll. The furious Bergen King Gristle Sr. (John Cleese) banishes his Chef (Christine Baranski) who was in charge of the Troll preparation.

Twenty years later, King Peppy's daughter, the extremely happy and optimistic Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), throws a big party to celebrate the Trolls' escape, despite the fears and warnings of the grey grumpy glum Troll Branch (Justin Timberlake) that loud parties will attract the Bergens. Branch's fears are realized when indeed the banished Bergen Chef sees the fireworks and captures a number of Trolls. Poppy is among the Trolls who managed to hide, but discovers that none of the other Trolls dare to venture to Bergen Town to rescue their friends. She goes by herself, but gets trapped by several spider-like creatures. She is saved by the reluctant Branch, and together they go to Bergen Town.

Poppy and Branch discover that their friends are being guarded by the scullery maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), and strike a deal with her: if she frees their friends, they will help her get a date with the now King Gristle Jr. While setting her up for the date, Branch reveals that he is the way he is because he ended up getting his grandmother, Grandma Rosiepuff (GloZell), eaten after a Bergen found him because of his singing (which turned him from blue to grey).

Later, with the Trolls' advice (and hair), Bridget gets her date with Gristle and she helps the Trolls escape. However, things go wrong when Poppy and her friends try to rescue the last Troll, the Zen-like Troll Creek (Russell Brand) who after being apparently swallowed by the young king has been discovered being held captive in the jewel that decorates the king's mantle. While the Trolls are successful in stealing the jewel, they are dismayed to discover that it is empty and even more shocked by being captured immediately afterwards by Chef and discovering that Creek has betrayed them to save himself. Creek returns to the Troll village where using Poppy's cowbell he lures the other Trolls out of hiding, letting them be captured by Chef and the other Bergen cooks who lie in ambush.

With all the Trolls captured and being ready to be served to the Bergens, even Poppy loses hope and she and all the other Trolls turn grey. Branch, despite his grumbling, sings for the first time since his grandmother was eaten, and reveals to Poppy through song that he loves her, to her surprise. She sings back that she loves him and restores his blue color, and they dance and hug.

Just before being served, the Trolls are rescued by Bridget who wants them to flee while she herself is ready to accept the Bergens' punishment for her "treason". However, Poppy does not want to abandon her Bergen friend. Together with the other Trolls, Poppy reveals that Bridget was in fact the king's mysterious date, and that, for being happy, it is not necessary to eat Trolls as the feeling that Bridget and the King had on their date was happiness too. The Trolls invite the Bergens to sing and dance with them, making the grey creatures feel the happiness that was already inside them that they just needed help to access. The vengeful Chef, who sees her newly re-won position at court jeopardized, tries to kill the Trolls. Before she can do so, she is knocked into the serving cart by a well-aimed spoon thrown by Bridget. Together, with the traitor Creek who was still in her pouch, Chef rolls out of the castle, with the cart set on fire.

In the end, the Trolls live in peace with the happy Bergens, Poppy is crowned their new queen, and with Branch regaining his blue color, they hug again.

A mid-credits scene shows the serving cart with a burnt Chef and Creek on it stopping in the middle of nowhere. Chef tries to eat Creek until he stops her and they get eaten by a monster together.


Anna Kendrick
Justin Timberlake
Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake at the film's preview at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival[8]


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 his wife Melanie[21] 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.[22] 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.[1]

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.[23] In May 2013, the film was pushed back for a year to November 4, 2016.[24] 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.[25] On June 16, 2014, Anna Kendrick joined the cast to voice Poppy, a princess.[9] On September 15, 2015, reported that Justin Timberlake will voice a character named Branch.[7] 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.[26]


Main article: Trolls (soundtrack)

Timberlake serves as an executive producer for the film's music, and released the original song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" on May 6, 2016.[27] The song reached No. 1 in 17 countries, including the United States and Canada. Timberlake along with the film cast, as well as Ariana Grande and Earth, Wind & Fire contributed to the soundtrack.[28]


The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on October 8, 2016 and was theatrically released on November 4, 2016 in the United States by 20th Century Fox.


Box office

As of December 4, 2016, Trolls has grossed $141.4 million in the USA and Canada and $155.3 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $296.7 million, against a budget of $125 million.[5]

In the United States and Canada, Trolls was released alongside Doctor Strange and Hacksaw Ridge, and was projected to gross $35–40 million from 4,060 theaters in its opening weekend.[29] 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.[30]

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75%, based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. 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."[31] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 56 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[32] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[33]

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?"[34] 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."[35] Andy Webster of The New York Times said "Exuberant, busy and sometimes funny, DreamWorks Animation's Trolls is determined to amuse."[36]

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an admittedly vibrant-looking but awfully recognizable animated musical comedy concoction."[3] 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."[37]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Tim Lamb and Craig Kellman Pending [38]
Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Kendal Cronkhite and Tim Lamb Pending
Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Claire Morrissey Pending
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Zooey Deschanel Pending
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Animated Feature Trolls Pending [39]
Best Song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback, and Justin Timberlake Pending
Hollywood Film Awards November 6, 2016 Hollywood Song Award "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake Won [40]
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 [41][42]
Best Soundtrack From a Movie Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated
Outstanding Music Supervision – Film Justin Timberlake Nominated
Satellite Awards February 19, 2017 Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Trolls Pending [43]
Best Original Song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Max Martin, Shellback and Justin Timberlake Pending
Teen Choice Awards July 31, 2016 Choice AnTEENcipated Movie Trolls Nominated [44]
Choice Music: Song from a Movie or TV Show "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake Nominated


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  18. Stefani, Gwen (January 6, 2016). "Hair we go! Meet DJ Suki! #DreamWorksTrolls #RockinTroll". Twitter. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
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  21. Lesnick, Silas. "DreamWorks Animation Plans Good Luck Trolls Film". Coming Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  22. Fleming, Mike (June 20, 2012). "Jason Schwartzman In 'Trolls' Mode?". Deadline. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
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