The Boxtrolls (2015): Here Be Monsters

Posted: March 29, 2015 in Adventure, Animated, Comedy
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the-boxtrolls-poster1After failing to find a solution for the boxtroll problem of the town, Lord Portley-Rind decides to hire Archibald Snatcher to save his people. Snatcher highlights one catch: if he rids the town of the boxtrolls, he must be allowed to earn a white hat and sit with the other distinguished members for their regular cheese tasting. One night, the lord’s daughter, Winnie, gets angry at her father for ignoring her, causing her to throw his hat out into the street. Cautiously going to retrieve it, she comes face to face with a couple of boxtrolls and a young boy who seems to be traveling with them. Curious about the boy, she finds him again out in the market and discovers that he is the missing Trapshaw Baby. She also discovers that Snatcher and the Boxtrolls are not what they all appear to be.

Review: In the tradition of the Laika Entertainment films, The Boxtrolls took the strange and produced the magic on-screen. While Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks may have more recognizable stories with stronger followings, Laika has brought forth a more creative sort of pictures. In this story, the animators gave heart to a bunch of sewer-dwelling monsters living in boxes, while making the human characters significantly more flawed than the monsters they fear. While the Boxtrolls cannot fully speak  like the humans, Dee Bradley Baker (Fish), Steve Blum (Shoe), and Nika Futterman (Oil Can) make them appear more human than the people above ground.

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While the Boxtrolls are clearly trying just to survive and live peacefully off of the scraps and trash that people through away, the humans above are either fearful or vengeful against the monsters. Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) was more concerned with his cheese than the Boxtroll problem or even his own daughter. This is what sent Winnie (Elle Fanning) searching for something more. Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) had a similar obsession to Portley-Rind but failed to achieve the upper-crust status. Capturing the Boxtrolls was his in with the ruling class. As for Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), he was “captured” as a child and raised to live like a Boxtroll. While his adoptive family knew who he really was, they were protecting him from the true villains of Cheesebridge.

It was quirky and intriguing, but probably did not get the attention it should have deserved. For an animated feature aimed at children, it may not have had the best hook to keep a wide audience interested, even though it actually was a solid film.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5

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