The film world collectively rolled its eyes when the relaunched Dreamworks Animation announced that it would be putting big-budget muscle behind a feature-length movie based on the recurring toy fad of Troll Dolls, but an impressive vocal cast and a funnier than expected early advertising campaign had many thinking twice. After all, whatever else you may think of them, features like this have proven to be big business in recent years, and everyone still remembers being shocked at how well The Lego Movie turned out.
Now, a new clip featuring stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake gives a better look at Trolls’ trippy, retro-inspired style.
In the new clip, debuting as part of Trolls’ big rollout for SDCC 2016, Kendrick’s hippie musician troll Princess Poppy is rebuffed for playing music while Timberlake’s grumpy woodsman troll Branch tries to sleep. When Branch says that he prefers “a little silence,” Poppy breaks into a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s 1964 hit “The Sound of Silence” – eventually summoning an array of colorful forest creatures to join her in the chorus. Branch remains unimpressed.
While also confirming that comedy veterans Kendrick and Timberlake more than retain their famous timing in animated form and offering some sly meta-humor in pop-star Timberlake being disinterested in all things musical, the clip indicates that Trolls’ overall aesthetic will be leaning heavily into a colorful 1960s counterculture vibe – likely a smart move, considering that the original Troll Dolls are best remembered as one of the first global toy fads in the mid-60s; where their signature colorful hair matched nicely with psychedelic pop-culture trends of the time.
The premise of the film finds fun-loving Princess Poppy and her polar-opposite Branch being thrust together on a quest through their bizarre fairytale forest world when their fellow Trolls are abducted by carnivorous creatures called Bergens, who plan to eat them. Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani and Ron Funches also lend their voices to the feature, which is being directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn, veterans of the later Shrek sequels and Disney’s Sky High.
The original Troll Doll was created in 1959 by a Danish woodcutter named Thomas Dam as a gift for his daughter, which prove so popular with local children that Dam was inspired to start a toy company to mass-produce them. While Dam Trolls found massive global success, an error in securing a U.S. patent for the designs (inspired by trolls of Norwegian folklore) led to the market being saturated by knock-offs and imitations, leading to several collapses and revivals in popularity of the dolls along with several decades of lawsuits; which the Dam Things corporation ultimately won and subsequently licensed the brand to Dreamworks for movies several years ago.
Trolls will be released in U.S. theaters on November 4th, 2016.