Dreamworks’ Trolls: Are Branch, Poppy Or Any Other Characters From The Original Toys?


The new animated feature from Dreamworks isn’t slated to hit theaters until next Friday, November 4, but some questions surrounding the premise and background of the film are still in question. Though it would be totally unprofessional to give every little detail of a film’s plot away before it even debuts in theaters, there’s still one question in particular that could be answered without revealing too much – or any – of the film’s colorful premise: the origins of the film’s spritely main characters.

Where did they come from? Were they all completely original creations? Or did they, like so many other adaptable properties, stem mostly from their source material? Let’s take a close look, break down each character, and find out.
Voice Actor: Anna Kendrick
Poppy is the lively, optimistic princess of the trolls, basically irrepressibly happy all the time. She, along with Justin Timberlake’s Branch, set out to free her village’s Trolls from the villainous Bergens. Much like Kendrick herself, Poppy is described as plucky, intelligent, and all-around adorable.
Voice Actor: Justin Timberlake
Branch is described as the polar opposite to Anna Kendrick’s Princess Poppy. He’s paranoid, disgruntled, and seriously sarcastic. With great reluctance, he agrees to accompany Poppy to the village of the Bergens to rescue the great many Trolls who were captured.

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Voice Actor: Zooey Deschanel

New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel takes on the role of Bridget, a kind-hearted Bergen who’s also scullery maid to the head Bergen chef. She’s among one of the first Bergens that Poppy and Branch come into contact with her and strike a deal with her in exchange for something they both need.
Voice Actor: Russell Brand
Creek is one of Poppy’s friends, a Troll of seemingly infinite wisdom and happiness. He is among the many trolls who are taken by the Bergens after Poppy ignores Branch’s warning. Initially thought of as a supporting character, Creek plays a major role in the film’s overall story.

Voice Actor: Christine Baranski
This particular Bergen has quite the sordid history with the Trolls. Without diving too deep into spoiler territory, it basically leads to her becoming a pariah of her community that’s only redeemable by capturing a bunch of Trolls for Bergen consumption. She’s the most wicked of the wicked Bergens and she will stop at nothing to take vengeance on those who wronged her, namely the Trolls.

Are Any Of These Characters Based On Toys?
As it turns out, that’s a definite no. Speaking as a kid who owned and had siblings who owned their fair share of Trolls dolls, I can honestly tell you I don’t remember a single one of them coming with a name or look that wasn’t any more or less generic than any of the others.

This is a good thing, though. By using only minimal amounts of inspiration from the original toys, Dreamworks was able to create a beautiful world with adorable and instantly iconic and lovable characters that will transition much easier into a new line of toys for the home company. Let’s be honest, the original Trolls – though cute-ish – were also kind of terrifying.

However, for the fans of the originals, the new Trolls do resemble their previous incarnations enough so that it pays respect to and honors the iconic toys that came before.

Holiday Wish Guide: PJ Masks Action Figures, Vehicles, Pajamas and More!

When PJ Masks made its debut on Disney Junior back in the Fall of 2015, everyone was caught off-guard not just by how popular it became, but how quickly it happened. Making up for a lack of PJ Masks merchandise last year, kids with Owlette, Catboy and Gekko on their lists this year have a lot to choose from… provided that the grownups (and Santa) can get their hands on some of 2016′s most sought-after toys. Since sharing two PJ Masks features as part of my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide here and here, it’s time for one more – the “Grand Finale,” if you will. At the top of every PJ Masks fan’s wish list are the Toys “R” Us Exclusive action figures, playsets and vehicles by Just Play… including my Toy Insider Parent Pick – the PJ Masks HQ. But that’s not all! Just in-time for holiday giving, there’s some new PJ Masks clothing available at Kohl’s, including some ultra-comfy pajamas for girls and boys alike, and the new Super City Run PJ Masks App!



PJ Masks Headquarters Playset (Just Play): I have a feeling that this playset is one that will take on “legendary” status in year’s to come. Already hard-to-find and being scalped on the secondary market (it should retail for no more than $79.99 through Toys “R” Us – anyone else currently selling it is a re-seller), this huge, three-level playset brings to mind some of the ones from my own youth, when things like He-Man’s Castle Grayskull, She-Ra’s Crystal Castle and the G.I. Joe Headquarters (or U.S.S. F.L.A.G.G.) were what kids wanted most. In every neighborhood, there was that one house that had all the cool playsets, and for our girls, my wife and I are fortunate to have created that house, and this playset is a part of the collection.

A massive, three-level “totem,” it’s the pinnacle of any kid’s PJ Masks collection, serving-up 360° of play. There’s a working elevator, zip-line with jet pack, “garage” doors for each level allowing a platform for vehicles (sold separately), along with a net for capturing villains, an interactive command center, and more. Plus, kids can use the single-seat mini Cat Car with the included Catboy figure to race into action down the wrap-around ramp. If your kids are like mine, they’ll probably want the bigger Cat Car, though…

PJ Masks Action Figures and Vehicles (Just Play): Articulated action figures sold in two-packs pairing heroes in villains, as single, deluxe light-up figures, or paired with vehicles, kids will want to have the entire trio of heroes and all their nemeses like Romeo, Luna Girl and the Night Ninja.


The perfect accessory for the HQ playset, the vehicle assortment features the Owl Glider, Gekko Mobile and a full-size Cat Car, each scaled to fit all three members of the PJ Masks team in matching-color seating, just like the show!

PJ Masks Pajamas (AME Sleepwear): Since there is a “PJ” in PJ Masks, it’s only proper that kids have the opportunity to sleep in some comfy pajamas that bring the adventure to bed time. With several styles available for boys and girls, there’s something for everyone, available in both toddler and children’s sizes. Pictured here are the “Time to Be a Hero” 2-Piece Long Sleeve Pajama Set and “It’s Time to Be a Hero” 3-Piece Short Sleeve Pajama Set. See the full collection in-store or online at Kohl’s.

PJ Masks Live! is Bringing Catboy, Owlette and Gekko to the Stage…

If your little ones are into PJ Masks, get ready for a big jump from the small screen to the stage! Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents have announced that PJ MASKS LIVE!, a brand-new, fully-immersive musical production, will take to the stage, touring across North America. Kicking off in September 2017, the live show is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity.


PJ MASKS LIVE! is slated to visit more than 50 U.S. and Canadian markets this fall, with the full tour schedule to be announced in May 2017. Fans are encouraged to sign up now at www.pjmaskslive.com in order to get to the front of the line for pre-sale tickets when the tour goes on sale this spring.

In addition to the live stage show news, eOne is pleased to announce that PJ Masks fans can now enjoy the music from the series via their favorite digital music streaming service. The PJ Masks mini-album, “Here We Come,” was released on March 10, 2017 and features ten familiar songs, including the theme song from the TV show as well as other tracks made popular by the brand’s official music videos. The PJ Masks mini-album is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and more.

DPAC adds fifth Paw Patrol show in May

Paw Patrol is coming to the Triangle – and apparently lots of kids and parents are excited about it.

The show hits the Durham Performing Arts Center in May. DPAC recently added a fifth show – at 6 p.m., May 20.


Show times now are 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., May 20, and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., May 21. Tickets start at about $21. They are on sale for all shows except the newly added show. Tickets for the 6 p.m., May 20, show go on sale to the general public at 11 a.m., Friday, March 17, according to Ticketmaster.

This is the first live tour for the popular Nickelodeon show.

Here’s a description: “It’s the day of the Great Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. PAW Patrol to the rescue! Ryder summons Marshall, Chase, Skye, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma, and the newest pup, Everest, to rescue Mayor Goodway and to run the race in her place.”

Easter Bunny arrives later this month at Eastdale Mall

The arrival of the bunny is just one of the activities surrounding Easter at Eastdale Mall this spring.

Children can visit and take photos with the Easter Bunny from March 25 through April 15 at the mall where the Easter Egg-Spress train also will be running.


The popular bunny will arrive at 11 a.m. on March 25 when the K Lynn Figure Skaters will perform whimsical vignettes as part of his grand arrival, said Allison Hendley, marketing director for the mall.

Once the fury favorite makes his way to his home at the Tea Pot Garden, the Ice Palace will be open to the public again.

“Following the Easter Bunny‘s magical arrival on ice, the Easter Bunny will make his way to his Tea Pot Garden located at the Eastdale Mall Centre Court, complete with spring flowers and so much more,” Hendley said.

People can find portrait pricing on the Eastdale Mall website, eastdale-mall.com.

An April 8, an Easter egg hunt will be another opportunity for children 10 and under to enjoy activities at the mall.

The hunt starts at 11 a.m. outside in front of Chuck E. Cheese.

“There will be over 1,000 hidden eggs and a golden egg with a special prize inside,” Hendley said.

The event is open to the public and tickets are $5 each, and can be purchased at customer service or upon arrival. Proceeds from the event benefit the Easter Seals of Central Alabama.

Children also will be able to enjoy inflatables and face painting, provided by the Eastdale Mall Teen Team, as well as cookie preparation.

For the first time, children can help employees at the Great American Cookie Co. prepare cookies shaped like Easter bunnies and Easter eggs.


“We will have colored icing so we recommend parents assisting the children. It’s not messy but we recommend children wear causal clothes,” Hendley said. “We will have the cookie tables out at 11 a.m., and are able to decorate throughout the entire event. People can eat the delicious cookies at the hunt or take them home.”

Easter Bunny hours are Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sun. from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Easter pictures with live bunnies will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

People can contact customer service to book a field trip to see the Easter Bunny. Chick-fil-A and Subway will offer lunch specials for school field trips.

The mall’s new anchor store, At Home, is now open and is selling Easter décor.

Parents, kids line up to meet favourite cartoon characters on Family Day

It was hard to keep a leash on the excitement at Tecumseh Mall on Mornday, when hundreds of kids got a chance to meet their favourite canine cartoon characters.


Three dogs from the Canadian animated children’s series Paw Patrol were stationed at different parts of the mall to meet fans during the “Paw-sitively Fun-Filled Family Day” event. The festivities coincided with National Love Your Pet Day.

The Paw Patrol TV show follows 10-year-old Ryder and his league of rescue dogs as they save lives and prevent disaster in Adventure Bay. It airs on TVO Kids and Télé-Québec.

Alysha Sutherland brought her 18-month-old son Maverick to meet the characters from one of their favourite shows.

“We saw it on Facebook, and we were very excited,” Sutherland said. “We love Paw Patrol.”

The event started at 12:30 p.m., but some parents like Lisa Pikul lined up early. Pikul said she and her daughter Eva were waiting in line for almost 40 minutes before getting to meet Marshall, the firefighter dog. Afterwards, Eva was bouncing with excitement.


Many kids came decked out in Paw Patrol gear, including Mason and Hunter Smith. The four-year-old twins love the characters Skye and Chase — the pilot and police dogs on the show. Skye and Chase were also at the mall posing for photos with fans.

Those in attendance also received a ballot to enter the Paw Patrol grand prize draw, which includes four tickets to the Paw Patrol Live Show at the Sony Centre in Toronto on Feb. 25.

The Windsor/Essex County Humane Society was also at Tecumseh Mall to promote its services to the long lines of animal lovers.


“It’s very busy today,” said Emma Truswell-Amlin, events and community relations co-ordinator at the humane society. “There’s a lineup all the way down the mall.”

Truswell-Amlin brought Louis, a white rabbit, and Violet and Lavender, two guinea pigs, to meet the families waiting in line.

“It’s a great way to promote our adoption programs and birthday parties,” said Truswell-Amlin. “There are lots of ways to get kids involved.”

‘Pokémon GO’ Celebrates Pokémon Day With Pikachu

It may not be as big as some of the other holidays in Pokémon GO, but the app has a little celebration in store to commemorate Pokémon Day, marking the 21st anniversary of the franchise writ large. They’ve given Pikachus found out in the wild a little party hat, available until March 6. Any Pikachus caught during the event will keep their hats forever, but you won’t be able to find new ones once it’s over. A blog post from developer Niantic does not specify whether or not your Pikachu will keep the hat as it evolves to a Raichu:


We’ve teamed up with our friends at The Pokémon Company International for their annual celebration of all things Pokémon, and we have a special treat for you this Pokémon Day! From February 26 at 1:00 P.M. PST to March 6 at 1:00 P.M. PST, special Pikachu appearing all over the world will be celebrating Pokémon Day by wearing festive party hats. These special Pikachu will keep their party hats forever, but they can only be found during this limited-time celebration, so make sure to keep an eye out for them as you explore!

Pikachu, as the case would seem in the Pokémon GO mythos, is the only Pokémon capable of wearing hats — our little friend also donned a Santa cap for Christmas. Pokémon GO introduced some new customization options for trainers recently, but I’d love to see Niantic push this forward for other Pokémon as well. We know that they’re doing this sort of thing for special events, and I can’t help but think there isn’t some money in the prospect of putting some hats on more of the little creatures. Sunglasses on Squirtle alone could probably send the app back to top of the charts.


Pokémon GO recently got a big shot in the arm with the release of 80 new Pokémon from the second generation of games, as well a few new gameplay features to give longtime players new ways to interact with the extra content. It sent the game back up to the top of the app charts for a little while, though it’s moved back down a few spots since.

When are the Easter holidays 2017, when’s Easter Sunday and how are the dates decided each year?

THE dates for the Easter holidays change every year, so it can be hard to keep track of the dates.

While Christmas and Valentine’s Day have fixed dates, Easter Sunday can fall on any date between March 22 and April 25 – so when is it in 2017, and how do they work it out?


When are the Easter holidays 2017?

This year Good Friday falls on April 14 and Easter Monday is on April 17.

The celebration for many will be a four-day weekend as Good Friday and Easter Monday are also bank holidays.

For those with kids, the school holidays this year are Friday, March 31 to Monday, April 17, although these may vary from school to school.

To be 100 per cent sure of your child’s school term times use the Government’s postcode checker.


When is Easter Sunday?

This year Easter Sunday (also known as Easter Day) is on April 16.

Christians celebrate Easter on a Sunday as it was the day Jesus rose from the dead, following being crucified on a Friday two days before.

Centuries ago in 325, it was determined by a council of Christian bishops that Easter Day would always be on a Sunday to commemorate the happy occasion.

How are the dates of Easter determined?

The death of Jesus occurred around the Jewish Passover, which is traditionally held on first full moon following the vernal equinox.

As the full moon can vary in each time zone, the Church said that they would use the 14th day of the lunar month instead – the Paschal Full Moon – and host Easter Day on the following Sunday.

Once the date of that moon is known, Easter Day and the Easter holidays can be determined.


When’s the best time to buy Easter eggs?

Well, according to some savvy shoppers, Easter eggs are already on the supermarket shelves – for the most organised among you.

But it’s bad news for parents with lots of kids – the cost of Easter eggs has soared this year, with a reported price hike of 18.1 per cent per kg.

How to make the most of Easter and get the most holiday?

Those wishing to make the most of Easter will be able to enjoy even more time off thanks to the way it falls in 2017.

Workers will be able to get a whopping 18 days off using just nine days holiday.

It means that over the Easter period if you finish work on Thursday, April 13 you can book up until Tuesday May 2 by taking just nine days off work.

As Good Friday falls on April 14, Easter Monday on April 17 and May Day on May 1 you have three bank holidays to play with.

The 18 days are made up of three bank holidays, three weekends and the nine during the working week.

‘Sing 2’ and ‘Minions 2’ Get 2020 Release Dates; ‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Pushed Back

Universal and Illumination Entertainment are making some changes to their release calendar. In the wake of the enormous success of Sing, which has now grossed $429.7 million worldwide, Illumination has unsurprisingly put Sing 2 on the schedule. The follow-up film will again hit the holiday corridor, as it’s now slated for release on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020. Additionally, The Secret Life of Pets 2 has been pushed from July 13, 2018 to July 3, 2019, nearly a full year, and Minions 2 will drop on July 3, 2020 instead of July 10th.


Illumination Entertainment made a big statement in 2016, proving that the studio can succeed outside its lucrative Despicable Me franchise. The studio opened with that film in 2010 to solid success, but its follow-ups Hop and The Lorax weren’t near as successful. Illumination stayed the course with Despicable Me 2 and Minions, both of which did well, but last summer’s The Secret Life of Pets was a test to see whether the studio could launch a new franchise. To the tune of $875.5 million worldwide, they did, and this past December’s Sing solidified Illumination’s status as a bona fide contender in the animation studio world alongside the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks Animation.


Image via Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment
The studio has Despicable Me 3 on the horizon, opening this summer with South Park’s Trey Parker voicing the villain. And they’re also diving back into the Dr. Seuss world with the Benedict Cumberbatch-fronted How the Grinch Sold Christmas, with The Cat in the Hat also in the works.


Quality-wise, Illumination hasn’t been able to come close to the high art of Pixar or recent Disney Animation output, but the studio has certainly struck a chord with audiences as evidenced by the ambitious release dates announced today. Check out their full upcoming slate below.

Despicable Me 3 – June 30, 2017
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – November 9, 2018
The Secret Life of Pets 2 – July 3, 2019
Minions 2 – July 3, 2020
Sing 2 – December 25, 2020


Here’s Every New Disney Movie Coming Out Through 2019

Behold, Disney‘s planned movie releases for the next four years! Look for sequels to beloved films such as Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Cars; remakes of classics such as Beauty and the Beast; and new stories your kids are sure to love.

Disney just announced every movie it plans to release through 2019, and we couldn’t be more excited! Here are the highlights of what’s hitting theaters for the next four years.
Coming in 2016

From the creators of Frozen comes the newest Disney princess film, Moana. Featuring the voice talents of “The Rock,” A.K.A. Dwayne Johnson, and newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, this is a story of one girl’s quest to save the Hawaiian land and people she loves. The visually stunning tale hits theaters this Thanksgiving (November 23, 2016), with a musical score courtesy of Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Mahalo, Disney! We can’t wait!

Star Wars spin-off Rogue One – with a cast including Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen (from Hannibal), Felicity Jones, and Ben Mendelsohn – will take place before the events of A New Hope and will follow a group of rebels who try to steal the plans for the Death Star. It hits theaters December 16, 2016.

Highly Anticipated Future Releases

It’ll be hard to wait until 2017 for the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, but we’ll try! Release date: March 17th, 2017.
“We’re sick of Cars”…said no kid ever. Good thing a third installment of the movie is in the works! Release date: June 16, 2017.

If you’re a Jack Sparrow fan (and who isn’t?!), gather yer brood for his return in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Release date: July 7, 2017.
The animated film Coco is inspired by Dia de lost Muertos and will be directed by the filmmaker who brought us the unforgettable Toy Story 3. Release date: Nov 22, 2017.
We’re hugely excited for Gigantic, which is based on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale. Release date: March 9, 2018.
For Toy Story fans, Disney is planning a fourth installment, which will follow the love story between Woody and Bo-Peep. Release date: June 15, 2018.
A sequel to The Incredibles is in the works, too, but don’t hold your breath for this one (unless that happens to be your superpower!). Release date: June 21, 2019.
Oh, plus there are about a million new Star Wars installments and super-hero movies along the way! And following in the footsteps of Beauty and the Beast and 2015′s Cinderella, Disney is planning four new live-action fairytales—while the titles haven’t been released yet, the company has locked down the release dates: Dec 22, 2017; Nov 2, 2018; March 28, 2019; and Nov 8, 2019.