Over the past several years, studios have moved into a new realm of stop animation by incorporating 3D technology into the filming with Laika studios creating some of the most interesting subjects. From Coraline to Paranorman, these unconventional children’s movies have found their audience among a wide range of age groups and have helped ring in a new age of animation. Laika hopes to carry on the tradition of making high quality stop animation films with this years The Boxtrolls, their most ambitious film to date.
Adapted from Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters,” the film’s main characters are underground cave-dwelling trolls who live to search through trash looking for hidden treasures to help enrich their living environment. The residence of Cheesebridge have learned to fear these genuinely lovable creatures, mostly due to fact that many believe that the Boxtrolls were responsible for the abduction and murder of a young child whom the townspeople refer to as the Trubshaw baby. Cheesebridge is run by Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) and his group of high society gentlemen who live to eat fancy cheeses and wear white hats as a sign of their statute. Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley), is an ambitious man who wants to join the white hats and indulge in their high class ways. Snatcher offers to exterminate the Boxtrolls in return for his inclusion in the white hats.
Meet Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), a young boy living among the Boxtrolls who has grown up under their tutelage and adapted their ways. Not knowing anything of the human world, Eggs believes he is a Boxtroll and they’ve accepted him as one of their own. On one of their missions to search for hidden gems, Eggs meets Winnie (Elle Fanning), the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind. Winnie is intent on finding out the truth about young Eggs and will stop at nothing to convince the town that the boy is none other than the Trubshaw baby. Once the Boxtrolls begin to start disappearing at an alarming rate, Eggs asks Winnie to help him find who’s responsible for the disappearance of his friends. Winnie agrees, but what the two companions find will change their lives and the lives of all the residence of Cheesebridge forever.
Animation is mainly about the visuals, but its the voices behind the creations that give the characters their personality. The Boxtrolls has assembled a fantastic cast of actors who’s voices are perfect for the roles they are portraying. Sir Ben Kingsley is almost unrecognizable as the sinister Archibald Snatcher. Each syllable uttered from the evil exterminators mouth is eloquently delivered by Kingsley with precision. The young voices of Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Winnie (Elle Fanning) are charming and playful and help to deliver their characters innocence and inquisitive nature perfectly. Jared Harris is absolutely fantastic as the pompous, cheese loving socialite. His voice, and the rest of the supporting cast including Nick Frost and Tracey Morgan, truly add another dimension to their created characters and are absolutely perfect for the roles they are portraying.
Overall, directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable have straddled the fence between beauty and grotesque and have created a highly entertaining and smart film that will no doubt remain a favorite among animation lovers for decades to come. The Boxtrolls is a wondrous achievement in animation and should entertain the whole family. Be careful of bringing your real young ones as there are some subject matters that may scare or confuse them.
3 1/2 out of 5
After credit scene:
Yes. Stay through the credits!