The Boxtrolls is another dark, edgy, macabre story from the same team that brought us ParaNorman and Coraline. If you’ve seen one or both of those films, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi and their team have created some of the most eye-popping cinematic animation to date, beautifully combining elements of stop-motion with lush, detailed CGI. While the story isn’t especially engrossing, the spectacle, charm, and delightfully over-the-top voice performances make it worth ninety minutes of your time.
The story concerns the Boxtrolls, a group of cavern-dwelling trash collectors who have raised an orphaned boy, Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright), since infancy. The enemy of the Boxtrolls is Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Kingsley) and his clan of exterminators. It is widely believed above ground that the Boxtrolls are murderous creatures that seek to take over the city. When his comrades are captured by Snatcher, Eggs takes it upon himself, looking a human and all, to infiltrate high society to try and save them. He teams up with young Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning) in his adventure.
The world that inhabits The Boxtrolls is a true original. From the well-lit, mechanical underground to the high and low societies above, the animators and visual designers have really outdone themselves with this production. Everything feels authentic and the details are truly amazing. The characters and story aren’t as memorable, though the voice work by the largely British cast is outstanding. Like the aforementioned ParaNorman and Coraline, the film contains plenty of “did they just say/do that?” moments for a children’s film and has fun pushing the envelope with charisma and energy. It’s a weird, completely original experience recommended for fans of this morbid animation sub-genre.
Studio: Focus Features
Length: 96 Minutes
Rating: PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor.
Theatrical Release: September 26, 2014
Directed by: Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
Written by: Irena Brignull & Adam Pava. Based upon the novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow.
Cast: Ben Kingsley (voice), Jared Harris (voice), Nick Frost (voice), Richard Ayoade (voice), Tracy Morgan (voice)