Just got in from seeing “The Boxtrolls” and let me tell you it was one twisted, disgusting, yet beautiful movie. Laika has already brought us great animated movies like “Coraline” (2009) and “Paranorman” (2012). Therefore, I was excited to see this movie despite its unappealing look.
First off, the visuals in this movie are gross, slimy, and often pleasant, but the work is incredibly detailed and that kind of makes it beautiful. A lot of the film is stop-motion animation and finely produced at that. Of course, when I think of that stop-motion style I always go back to “Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993), a movie that I still consider the cream of the crop in this kind of animation. I appreciate how much work went into this film on a visual scale and there are several times in the movie I was really impressed.
Sir Ben Kingsley voices the “evil” Archibald Snatcher who is among the more memorable antagonists I can think of from the last several years in animated films. The film also features the voices of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Tracy Morgan to name a few. Something about films with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; they almost always find a way to make me watch and enjoy them.
The Boxtrolls are ugly little trolls (so ugly they are almost cute) that live underground and have been given a bad rap by the city folk and people in charge and it’s all terribly unjustified. You’ve seen the idea of people fearing what they don’t understand a thousand times, but all that matters is that it’s done well and it is. The Boxtrolls wind up with a human child who grows up amongst them meanwhile Archibald Snatcher is in constant pursuit of them likely for some nefarious reason.
I liked how “Paranorman” dealt with the misunderstood and took a stand against bullying and fear. This movie also dives into more profound subjects; in the case it is social structure/class warfare and political apathy in our nation. It was done well enough to be enjoyable and not preachy and that is always a big plus.
This movie didn’t tug at my heartstrings as much as “Paranorman” did, but there is definitely some emotional moments in the film that I appreciated.
This movie effectively uses multiple classic conflicts such as Man/Woman vs. Self, Man/Woman vs. Society, and Man/Woman vs. Man.
The visuals are beautiful and appreciated, the unique sense of humor worked for me, the characters were enjoyable and or creepy and there were plenty of surprises I could never have imagined being in a mainstream animated film in America.
For the youngest of viewers, this is no Disney production, it is darker, deeper, and nobody is singing. (Nothing wrong with that, but there is a time and place and this wasn‘t it.) Keep the youngest at home and save them a trip to a therapist in the future. For older children, teens, and adults like myself who enjoy an animated films; chances are this will be a movie for you. I doesn’t outshine “Paranorman”, but it is yet another solid work by Laika and well worth watching.
Giving this movie a B+
I may develop my own unique rating system should this blog continue to grow