Monday, May 16, 2016

More Players: First Look at Chinese Feature 'Troll'

Not only does China want in on animated feature-making, but also Norway...

The picture in question is called Troll: The Tale of a Tail. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it's a Chinese-Norwegian-Canadian co-production, coming from Spring Era Period Productions, China Lion Entertainment, and Blue Bug. Costing $18 million, it'll go the Kung Fu Panda 3 route, where a Chinese version will be animated, and an English version, rather than just one version being dubbed into multiple languages. It's being shopped around, and is being shown at Cannes to potential buyers this week.

The directors will be Kevin Munroe (TMNT, Ratchet & Clank) and newcomer Kristian Kamp, long-timer Eric Lessard will be the animation supervisor. The story itself is based on a story from the ancient Chinese text The Classic of Mountains and Seas...

"... the film centers on Chui Mu, a young troll prince​ of the ​Zhou Rao Kingdom. When Chui Mu's father, King Zhou Mo's tail is snatched by a human Troll Hunter, he turns to stone. With King Zhou Mo gone, the once idyllic troll valley falls under the tyrannical rule of his cousin Chuan. Chui Mu and Freia, a feisty troll girl, with their two-headed eccentric friend Jutul, must risk their lives in an epic journey into the human world to retrieve Chui Mu’s father's tail, conquer Chuan and his army, and bring King Zhou Mo back to life and to his throne."

Sounds like prime material for the Chinese market, though I'm not too sure how it'll fare here, even if it is localized. I just hope they don't localize it to the point where it loses all of its Chinese aspects and whatnot, but who am I kidding? I reckon it'll be Weinsteined, but it's too early to tell. They're aiming for a Christmas 2017 release date, but I wonder if it'll make it to US theaters at all. Sometimes you might be hit with a Little Prince situation. I think it would be very nice if animation from China can finally fare quite well here.

Other studios are also trying to get their work here to US theaters, like Original Force and Huayi Brothers.

Design-wise it doesn't look too bad for such a small movie, though I hope the animation itself is decent. The character design scheme is a little close to How To Train Your Dragon, but a little cartoonier. Oddly enough, the Freia character looks more like a Good Luck Troll doll than any of the trolls in the upcoming DreamWorks film based on the dolls themselves! Well, minus the hair that is. I also can't but help think that the two leads look a bit too much like kid versions of Hiccup and Astrid, but hopefully the feature itself is good.

It also wasn't the only Chinese animated production to pop up at Cannes, another one called Foodiverse, which looks like a much better version of Foodfight! with a sci-fi flavor, made the rounds. That one is expected to be done in mid-2017, and that one honestly interests me a bit..

What do you think of this? Sound off below!

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