The Rundown: – The third movie from the relatively unknown Laika studios, The Boxtrolls is a heartwarming tale of a boy who thinks he’s a troll finding his place in the world. Along the way there are reveals, antics, shenanigans, giant death machines, and little girls obsessed with blood and guts. Overall an absolute riot! Some background for those who don’t know, or haven’t been paying attention, I am an animator. The movie that got me wanting to become an animator was The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I saw when I was about 8. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on stop-motion and have followed its methods and progress religiously. For the most part, stop-motion has never been at the forefront of entertainment, mainly being an artistic niche type of film known more to film majors and lovers of holiday specials than appealing to any mainstream audience. Lately, the torch of this rarest of animation styles has been held by Laika studios. They are responsible for the much-loved adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, as well as the impressive follow-up Paranorman. With this latest undertaking, Laika has shown it has what it takes to continue the amazing legacy of this rare form of filmmaking. The Boxtrolls follows the story of the boy Eggs, taken by Boxtrolls when he was just a baby and raised beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. The repugnant Archibald Snatcher uses his kidnapping to raise a fervor of anti-troll sentiment among the townsfolk. He is then employed as the premiere Boxtroll exterminator, with promises of great rewards should he eliminate every last Boxtroll in the entire town. There are a lot of great things to say about this movie, but I shall start with saying that it does a wonderful job of world-building. The world contained within Cheesebridge is at once terrifying, quaint, colorful, drab, and often hilarious. It is ruled by a hierarchy comprised of people in white hats, these hats being obtained by the very rich or, strangely, the owners and appreciators of fine cheeses. The villain’s motive, of wanting to be a part of that strange and elite bunch of ‘white-hats’ is at once relatable as an outcast wanting to find their place, and also sinister, as he does despicable things to achieve his goals. The entire town of Cheesebridge is vibrantly itself and you get a sense of what the average citizens are like despite them getting very little screen time. Another thing is the fine line the film walks between being overly grotesque, and ridiculously funny. I am not usually a fan of toilet humor, but the film manages to be both intelligent in its use as well as conservative. There is just enough gross-out humor to temper some of the more serious moments, and the Boxtrolls themselves tend to be at times adorable, but still grotesque. I mean, they are trolls, so it makes sense and that is part of what makes them so endearing, and it’s not just them that make this film so unique. Every character has something about them that makes them stand out, and makes you want to pay attention when they’re on-screen. Even Archibald’s henchmen each have distinct personalities that are just a pleasure to watch, and make some of the best moments of the film. Winnie, the daughter of the mayor, is at once spoiled, demanding, morbid, and sensitive all at once. As a female lead she is definitely more than a set piece and drives the narrative forward on her own power. It is refreshing to see that, while the film adheres to many children film tropes, it still manages to include characters with some real initiative and depth. Finally, as an artist and animator, this film is gorgeous. Each puppet is perfectly sculpted, but not so perfect that you think you’re watching a CGI film, which is a problem that films like Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride suffered from. Laika knows how to make an artistically gorgeous film, and also justify telling their narrative in this most time-consuming of methods. The sets, effects, and overall design are amazing and the film is just a pleasure to watch from start to finish. Overall, if you’ve heard of their previous work, or even if not, Laika’s latest stop motion masterpiece is a must see. Good for the young, the old, and the creeptastic, The Boxtrolls evokes the feelings of trying to figure who you become as you grow up, as well as the nature of what makes a family, and there’s even a bit about propaganda. Definitely check this one out! The Boxtrolls (2014) Review5.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.