The Boxtrolls

2014-11-28 12:43
What's it about:

The Boxtrolls are monsters who live underneath the charming streets of Cheesebridge. They crawl out of the sewers at night to steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend the townspeople have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are a community of lovable oddballs who are raising as one of their own an abandoned and orphaned human boy named Eggs. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous exterminator who is bent on eradicating them, Eggs must venture above ground to save the Boxtrolls, and he teams up with an adventurous young girl to save not only the Boxtrolls, but the soul of Cheesebridge.

What we thought:

When it comes to stop-motion animation, I might be slightly biased. The details in the craftsmanship, the surreal reality that looks real and fantastical at the same time and general uniqueness of the story - I don’t believe I have ever seen a bad stop-motion film. But when you think about the time it takes to develop and make these films (this one was 10 years in the making), it makes sense. The Boxtrolls follows in the big footsteps of Oscar-nominated Coraline and ParaNorman, and although those two’s weirdness still make it one of the best animations out there, Boxtrolls delighted in its quirky family dynamics and one man’s quest to become the Big Cheese (literally, not joking).

In a town where cheese is more important to the elite than actually running the town, Boxtrolls are feared for their mysterious ways, and they like to keep to themselves underground. Their adoption of an orphan boy brings the two worlds together, bringing with it a mean-spirited pest exterminator, dead set on acquiring the coveted white hat – marking him as an elite in Cheesebridge.

The animation studio Laika’s third stop-motion is based off Here Be Monsters!, inspiring the creatures and characters of The Boxtrolls, but the animators decided to create a different story. In it, the underworld of Ratbridge is populated by not only trolls but many other creatures, and they decided it would lose the focus of the film if they followed the book’s story. And I agree. The trolls are such a dynamic bunch, each named after the box they live in, and the villain Archibald Snatcher is such a massive personality (greatly helped by voice god Ben Kingsley) that it would have become overcrowded.

I could go on forever about the design, but just by watching the trailer you don’t need words to describe the obvious months that went into creating the world of Cheesebridge. Beyond the animation, however, I have to applaud the story as well. Laughing throughout, the humour was as delectable as the cheese that was consumed and the characterisation of the creatures, villains and heroes reflected not only in their design but also in the voice acting. The henchmen’s constant evaluation of good and evil was endearing and the Boxtrolls’ grunts and moans conveyed more than words could, my favourite being the staunch short one. Eggs, the boy living with the trolls, was adorable in his awkwardness with society (voiced by Game of Thrones’ Bran Stark) and you really did feel like punching the pompous white-hats, more interested with their dairy delight than their own children.
Fantastic family film for the holidays, The Boxtrolls can enthrall both young and old as everyone can relate to the film’s message of the family bond, regardless of blood.

P.S. Stay through the end scene for a hilarious fourth wall break. Your inner movie fanatic will be pleased.
Read more on:    ben kingsley  |  simon pegg  |  tracy morgan  |  movies

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