2016's TROLLS is one of the very best movies from DreamWorks Animation. With a unique visual style, winning vocal performances (led by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake), a wonderful soundtrack and a gentle, heartfelt message about community and harmony, it remains one of the animation studio's greatest accomplishments.
That might be a surprise since the film is based on the line of strange Danish troll dolls with outrageous hair and jeweled belly buttons. It just goes to show that great things can come in unexpected — and odd — packages, which was part of the point of the original movie in the first place! Now a sequel, TROLLS WORLD TOUR, is on its way. Here's everything you should know about the follow-up before it rocks your world.
Almost everybody from the first movie is returning for the sequel, so we imagine the first film was as much fun to make as it seemed to be. In addition to Kendrick and Timberlake, the TROLLS WORLD TOUR cast features James Corden, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, and Kunal Nayyar, all reprising their roles from the original film. Original co-director Walt Dohm directs, and original screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger contributed to the script. So this sequel is basically a big TROLLS family reunion.
[Image credit: Dreamworks Animation]
Set several years after the events of the first movie, the trolls discover that there are a number of other troll tribes, each dedicated to specific styles of music, such as pop, funk, classical, techno, country and rock. As shown in the adorable trailer, each tribe has a unique "string" associated with that style of music. Things get messy when hard rock maven Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom, who also recently lent her voice to THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2) tries to steal all of the strings in order to control the troll kingdoms and allow rock to reign supreme. It's up to our heroes to unite the other troll tribes and make a stand against Barb and her head-banging ways. We expect to see many high-powered dance-offs.
Along with Bloom, newcomers to the TROLLS universe include a mix of performers and musicians. Break out your glitter because Kenan Thompson, Anthony Ramos (from HAMILTON), Gustavo Dudamel, Ozzy Osbourne, Jamie Donan, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Flula Borg, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, and Chance the Rapper are all a part of the sprawling cast of TROLLS WORLD TOUR. We'll see if you can guess which musical tribe each of them will be a part of. Hint: Gustavo Dudamel is not a techno troll.
TROLLS had a cute story that was elevated by its artistic style, which had a kind of crafty, handmade quality. The entire world looked like it was made out of yarn, fabric, and glitter. The trolls themselves had a fuzzy, felt-like quality.
TROLLS WORLD TOUR pushes that aesthetic even further. The techno realm, for example, has the vibe of a 1980's video game, with a glowing, almost two-dimensional feel. There's also a montage of characters making "undercover costumes," where the Trolls are seen hopping over giant buttons and navigating huge stitching. Also, there's a great joke at the end of the trailer about the "smooth jazz troll" that features some downright psychedelic visuals, as the troll is propelled on a wave of rose petals. We've also seen the home of the country trolls, where the entire ground looks like a western carpet. It's like something you'd see slung over the back of a rocking chair at a country home. In short, the first TROLLS jolted us with its visual inventiveness, and the sequel seems to be pushing all elements of the look forward.
TROLLS boasted songs like "Can't Stop the Feeling," the earworm-y smash by Justin Timberlake? (Interestingly, that song was released in May and the movie didn't come out until October. Talk about building buzz early!) As with the cast and the look of the film, TROLLS WORLD TOUR ups the game.
While we don't know all the soundtrack specifics, a card at the end of the trailer promises Justin Timberlake collaborations with Chris Stapleton, Kelly Clarkson, SZA, Anderson .Paak, and Mary J. Blige. It's unclear if these are original songs or covers, but those are some pretty heavy hitters, and considering the catchy magic Timberlake conjured the last time around, we're thinking this is going to be huge.
All images courtesy of Dreamworks Animation.