Trolls are not inherently attractive creatures. We know this, and you know this. That being said, filmmakers can still succumb to certain, specific pitfalls when creating princess characters -- regardless of race. Even films geared towards young viewers don't always set the best example, and the crew behind DreamWorks' Trolls seems to have taken notice. According to the film's producer: avoiding standards of beauty factored heavily into the creation of Anna Kendrick's character, Princess Poppy -- but not for the reasons you would expect.
During the DreamWorks Animation presentation in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, Trolls producer Gina Shay spoke out regarding the importance of avoiding traditional physical standards when developing Anna Kendrick's' character Poppy. She said:
As filmmakers we feel like it's our responsibility to give girls memorable characters that don't make them feel inadequate in body image. We broke every princess rule in the book on this one; we kept the troll shapes round, shoeless. My daughter's eleven, she has a really powerful mind and I would rather have her using it to be imaginative instead of obsessing in front of a mirror because all girls are beautiful.
It's a small detail, but it's one that you're definitely going to notice now that it's been brought up. Comparing Poppy to the other Trolls in the film will instantly make you realize that she looks basically identical to her friends and family. The filmmakers made a very concerted effort to keep her features round to the point of looking androgynous, and they also opted to keep the character barefoot. Body image has become a fairly well worn topic in the realm of entertainment, with strong opinions on both sides of the argument. Gina Shay's argument seems to be that she wants her own daughter to idolize a character like Poppy for her brain and personality -- not just her physicality.
Looking at other animated films of this ilk, it becomes fairly clear as to what the folks behind Trolls are endeavoring to combat. From The Little Mermaid's Ariel, to Frozen's Elsa, animated kids' movies often depict these characters almost universally having slender body types. It's also worth noting that it's not just a phenomenon that affects girls; the depiction of the male form in action movies and superhero fiction (to name just a couple) has also presented a masculine ideal that many young boys find themselves conditioned to strive for.
Check out the trailer for Trolls below to see how Poppy seriously deviates from the movie princess norm:
Are we saying that we need to stop creating characters that match up to traditional ideals of beauty? Absolutely not. Trolls just happens to present an alternative to the norm, and there's definitely nothing wrong with that.
Based solely upon what we've already seen from DreamWorks' Trolls, the filmmakers have clearly done an impeccable job of making Poppy a bona fide heroine who bucks movie princess tradition. We will bring you all of the latest and greatest details related to Trolls as more information becomes available to us. The upcoming animated film will hit theaters later this year on November 4.