Trolls is a 1994 American animated musical fantasy comedy-adventure film produced by DreamWorks Pictures, based on the Troll dolls created by Thomas Dam. The film was directed by Phil Nibbelink, Simon Wells and Mike Mitchell (in his directorial debut), written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, produced by Dora Wilson and TBD, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
The film features the voices of Samantha Mathis, Jason Marsden, Robin Williams, Danny DeVito, Burt Reynolds, Tress MacNeille, Gilbert Gottfried, Pat Carroll, Kate Higgins, Martin Short, June Foray, Don Messick, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jeremy Irons and John Cleese and is narrated by Hal Douglas. The film revolves around two trolls on a quest to save their village from destruction by the Ogres, creatures who eat Trolls to be happy.
Being DreamWorks' first animated film to entirely use digital ink and paint, Trolls is also notable for being the very first animated film to have pop culture-themed references and humor (besides Walt Disney Pictures' Aladdin) and featuring various well-known pop songs (such as "The Sound of Silence", "Hello", "September" (the later being heard only in the end credits), etc. into its soundtrack). It also includes original songs such as "Move Your Hair" (which have lyrics and music which would've be later used in the 2002 song "Move Your Feet"), "Get Back Up Again" and "Can't Stop the Feeling!"; all of these original songs were written by Paul McCartney and Max Martin.
Trolls would be one of the last five animated films to have Dora Wilson's direct involvement before her retirement in the same year, along with selling her studio to Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
Trolls was released on December 2, 1994. It recieved positive reviews and was a box-office success. The film was reissued in theaters in 3D in 2012, with the addition of two new musical numbers: "Animal Life" and "That's How You Know" (the latter reused from the 2007 Walt Disney Pictures film Enchanted, which was used under permission) into the film, and an all-new song "They Don't Know" (sung by singer Ariana Grande), which was added into the edited pizza place/skating rink sequence.
The Trolls are small creatures who live in an almost perpetual state of happiness, singing, dancing and hugging all day. However, they are discovered by the Ogres, large miserable creatures, who can feel happy only after eating a Troll. The Ogres 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 underground tunnels on the day of Trollstice, when young Prince Gristle Jr. was going to eat his first Troll and the Ogres find that all the Trolls have replaced themselves with wooden dolls with crazy hair. Enraged, Gristle's father King Gristle Sr. banishes his Chef who was in charge of the Trollstice preparation. She angrily vows to find the Trolls and have them eaten, while the King tells his son that nothing will ever make him happy.
20 years later (at the age of 23), Poppy, along with her friends Biggie, a big Troll with a pet worm named Mr. Dinkles; Guy Diamond, who can sneeze glitter; Cooper, a giraffe-like Troll; Satin and Chenille, a duo of fashionistas; DJ Suki, a disc jockey; and Smidge, a tiny troll with superhuman strength, throws a big party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Trolls' escape, despite the warnings of the over-cautious and egotistical gray troll, Branch, that loud parties will attract the Ogres. A "Zen" troll who Poppy has a secret crush on named Creek arrives, and tells Branch to start being happy instead of being grumpy, but Branch refuses. At the party, Branch's warnings come true, when the Chef and her henchanimals Lancy, Rascal and Battly, having spent the last 20 years searching for the Trolls, see the fireworks and kidnap Guy Diamond, Biggie with Mr. Dinkles, Smidge, Satin with Chenille, DJ Suki, Cooper and Creek (which Poppy tried to rescue but gets foiled by Lancy). The Chef tries to kidnap King Peppy as well, but Poppy pushed him under the mushroom stage used for the party announcement, which let Poppy camouflage, and hide her and King Peppy from the Chef. The Chef and her henchanimals then take the kidnapped Trolls back to Ogre Town, while secretly plotting to overthrow its monarchy in revenge for her banishment.
Alone inside the bunker, Branch looks at a bunch of homemade party invitations, indicating that he appreciates Poppy's offers of friendship and that he have a romantic unrequited true love for Poppy and (being the only one knowing it) is jealous of she having feelings for Creek. Meanwhile, Poppy goes on a rescue mission alone, as no other Troll is willing to venture to Ogre Town, including Branch. But later on, when Poppy gets into trouble, she is saved by Branch, who thinks she will not make it if she goes alone. They are later joined by seven animals, a fun-loving woodpecker named Wacky; a lazy bear named Sleepy; a aristocrat fieldmouse named Judie; a shaggy and arrogant yet well-meaning hare named Archer; a romantical rabbit named Lulabelle (who recognizes Branch's love for Poppy as true love); a bossy beaver named Handy; and a short-tempered water rat named Reynard, who reluctantly join the journey after Poppy insisting to wanting them to help them since they are the only ones who know the road to Ogre Town.
Poppy, Branch and the animals rest for the night. Poppy starts to sing and say goodnight to pictures of all her captured friends, which bugs Branch and the animals (mainly Sleepy, Judie, Archer, Handy and Reynard). Poppy gets out her ukulele and starts singing "The Sounds of Silence", with other forest creatures joining in. Branch asks Poppy for the ukulele and he just tosses it into the fire, to the animals' liking.
After a few misadventured events during the journey, the group come across a series of tunnels, which just one is supposed to lead them to Ogre Town. They meet a parrot, who offers to show them which path leads to Ogre Town, and which one leads to Death. Branch gets annoyed with the parrot when he tries to do a high-five, so Branch breaks a stick and chases him through the tunnel with Poppy running after them, while the annoyed animals disguise themselves as Ogres to enter undercover. Poppy and Branch wind up in Ogre Town and see how gloomy all the Ogres are in their everyday lives.
Once inside the Ogre King's castle, Poppy and Branch witness Creek apparently get eaten by the now King Gristle Jr., but Poppy remains hopeful that Creek survived (which Reynard annoying says to her "You really haven't got any brains at all, have you?"). Poppy and Branch, with the animals' help, find the rest of the captured Trolls, being guarded by a scullery maid named Bridget. Poppy discovers that Bridget is secretly in love with Gristle (with Lulabelle recognizing it as true love as well) and offers to help her get a date with the king 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 a massive argument with Poppy, revealing that, as a child, his grandmother was captured and eaten while trying to save him, because his singing compromised his location to the Chef. Branch's guilt and shame 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, while Sleepy, Archer, Lulabelle and Handy decide to search something to dinner and Wacky, Judie and Reynard (the two latter are falling in love with each other) take a break in Bridget's room. Bridget, disguised under the name of 'Lady Glitter Sparkles', gets a date with Gristle at a roller rink and arcade restaurant and Gristle asks her to be his "plus one" at Trollstice. Poppy notices Creek being held captive in the jewel adorning the king's mantle.
Having helped Bridget, the Trolls, Wacky, an reluctant Judie (who distrusts and suspects about Creek, since he being alive is very suspicious for her) and Reynard attempt to rescue Creek from Gristle's room and steal his jewel, but when they open it, he's not inside. They are then recaptured by the Chef's henchanimals who then recognize Poppy as the Trolls' princess. The Chef reveals that she is being helped by Creek, who is betraying them to spare himself from being eaten, revealing himself to be a coward, a faker and an double-crossing traitor, that he was never a Zen, and that his "captive" in the jewel was actually a trap, much to Poppy's shock and surprise. Creek returns to the Troll village, where, using Poppy's cowbell, he lures the other Trolls out of hiding, letting them be captured by the Chef and her henchanimals who lie in ambush, while Sleepy, Archer, Lulabelle and Handy (who were discovered by the Ogre guards during the attempted rescue) are arrested and thrown into the castle's dungeon, along with Wacky, Judie and Reynard.
With all the Trolls captured, thrown into a pot, and soon to be eaten, a heartbroken Poppy becomes sad after she had been betrayed by her secret crush, and loses hope as she and all the other Trolls turn gray when she starts to cry. After heeding a advice Lulabelle told him before, Branch (even though he is 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 she had fallen in love with Branch, returns Branch's feelings and they end up restoring all the Trolls' colors including Branch's. Just before being served, the Trolls are rescued by the animals, who escaped from the dungeon after breaking the cell's wall and outsmarting the guards with other animals' help, and by Bridget, who is thankful for Poppy's help and for showing her how to be happy, now being ready to accept the Ogres' punishment for her "treason". While escaping, Poppy can't bring herself to abandon Bridget after her sacrifice that is sure to doom her life, and rallies Branch and the animals to attempt a permanent solution to the conflict by showing the Ogres that they can be happy too.
The Ogres are gathered for the feast, but Gristle wants to wait for his date. The Chef makes them start without her, but she opens the pot and finds that the Trolls are gone. Believing Bridget ate them all, the Chef and her henchanimals furiously order the guards to seize Bridget, until Poppy, Branch, their friends, and the animals crash in on Bridget's skate (the Trolls, Wacky, Judie and Reynard) and a flying car-like machine build by Handy (the rest of the animals), respectively, and reveal that Bridget was in fact Lady Glitter Sparkles, and that for being happy it is not necessary to eat Trolls, as the feeling that Bridget and Gristle had on their date was happiness too.
The Trolls then invite the Ogres to sing and dance with them, making the grey creatures feel the happiness that was already inside them and that they just needed help to access. The vengeful Chef, who sees her plans jeopardized, tries to kill Poppy and Branch, but before she can do so, Bridget throws a wooden spoon at her head and knocks her into the serving cart and together with her henchanimals and the traitor Creek, who was still in her pouch, rolls out of Ogre Town, winding up in the wilderness where she and Creek themselves are devoured by a giant monster, while the Chef's henchanimals get beaten up by crook badgers.
In the end, the Trolls live in peace with the (happy) Ogres, Poppy is then declared queen of the Trolls, and Poppy and Branch start a romantic relationship and both share a hug along with the parrot.
- Poppy - the optimistic yet naïve and dimwitted princess and later queen of the Trolls.
- Branch - a over-cautious Troll survivalist and short-tempered, selfish, cold-hearted, disgruntled, unkind, spoiled, arrogant and cruel pessimist who is later revealed to be much nicer and kinder, and becomes Poppy's best friend and love interest throughout the film's ending.
- Wacky - TBD
- Sleepy - TBD
- Judie - TBD
- Archer - TBD
- Lulabelle - TBD
- Handy - TBD
- Reynard - TBD
- King Gristle - the prince and now king of the Ogres.
- Bridget - a kind-hearted Ogre who works as a scullery maid to the Chef and has feelings for Gristle.
- The Chef - the mean-spirited, power-hungry unnamed Ogre chef who is in charge of Troll preparation.
- Creek - a Troll with a positive personality and zen-like wisdom. He is later revealed to be a coward, a faker and an double-crossing traitor willing to betray all the other Trolls just so he won't be eaten.
- Biggie - a chubby friendly Troll who always carries his pet worm, Mr. Dinkles.
- Cooper - a giraffe-like Troll who doesn't sing but raps and walks on all fours.
- Satin and Chenille - two fashion-loving twin Trolls who are joined by their hair.
- Guy Diamond - a glittery silver Troll who sneezes out glitter.
- DJ Suki - the Trolls' resident disk jockey.
- Smidge - TBD
- King Peppy - the king of the Trolls and Poppy's father.
- King Gristle Sr. - the ruler of the Ogres at the start of the film.
- Chad and Todd - Gristle's comic relief royal guards.
- Lancy, Rascal and Battly - TBD. They make their 8th appearance in a DreamWorks animated film.
- Samantha Mathis as Poppy
- Mary Kay Bergman as Baby Poppy
- Jason Marsden as Branch
- Justin Timberlake as Young Branch
- Robin Williams as Wacky, the Parrot
- Danny DeVito as Reynard
- Burt Reynolds as Archer
- Tress MacNeille as Judie, Lulabelle, DJ Suki, Smidge, Satin, Chenille, Troll children
- Gilbert Gottfried as Sleepy, Handy, Cooper, Guy Diamond, Chad, Todd
- Dom DeLuise as Biggie, additional Trolls and Ogres
- Kate Higgins as Bridget
- Lacey Chabert as Young Bridget
- Martin Short as Prince/King Gristle
- Joseph Ashton as Young Gristle
- Pat Carroll as the Chef
- June Foray as Lancy, additional Trolls and Ogres, Branch's grandmother
- Don Messick as Rascal, Barnabus (Gristle's pet alligator)
- Charles Nelson Reilly as Battly
- Jeremy Irons as Creek
- John Cleese as King Gristle Sr., King Peppy, Ogre shopkeeper
- Hal Douglas as the Narrator
In the 1960s, Dora Wilson got attention of the popularity of the Troll toyline after giving a Christmas gift to her granddaughter. She and the Troll toy creator Thomas Dam were in talks to produce an animated/live-action feature film adaptation of the toyline. However, there was no reply from Dam for producing the film. It wasn't until 1990 where Dora Wilson met fellow film producer Steven Spielberg at the San Monica beach where he tells her that he acquired the film rights to the Troll toys to make a fully animated feature film under his Amblimation animation studio in London, UK. She then asked him to make a partnership with her for producing the film after telling her initial plans to adapt it, Spielberg accepted since he had been a fan of DreamWorks animated films since a long time.
Digital ink and paint
The Trolls' new redesigns
Originally, the Trolls' designs from the film were meant to be faithful to the original toyline. However, the creative team led by TBD that was developing the film decided to give the Trolls new redesigns to take advantage of using digital ink and paint. The designs were changed to giving the Trolls a more cartoony-like appearance with color skin and remaining the furry up-combed hair. The new design for the Trolls was done by artist Craig Kellman.
- Move Your Hair
- Get Back Up Again
- Animal Life (2012 3D re-release only)
- The Sound of Silence
- That's How You Know (2012 3D re-release only; reused from Walt Disney Pictures' 2007 film Enchanted under permission)
- I'll Take My Revenge
- I'm Coming Out
- True Colors
- Can't Stop the Feeling!