Starring: Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan
Directed By: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Written By: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 37 min
The Boxtrolls are a lovable family of creative tinkerers that live beneath the town of Cheesebridge. An odd place, whose inhabitants, especially its leader Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), seem completely obsessed with cheese. Even to the exclusion of the public’s health, and their own children. The film’s villain, Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) likes the occasional taste of congealed cows milk too, even though he’s deathly allergic to it.
Set within this strange little world is a story about family and personal identity. In that, knowing who you are from the inside, as opposed to building an identity around material symbols that define your standing in the world. In this case, the status symbol that is a white hat versus a lowly red one. Even if the pursuit of such treasures is ultimately your downfall.
On the technical side of things, The Boxtrolls is fantastic. It’s beautifully crafted, photographed and animated while the character design and development is first-rate. My main complaint with the film however, is with how the story is structured.
You’re sort of dumped into this crazy world, and told very little about it. Like you had walked into the theater late and missed the first 20 minutes of the film. Leaving you with no bearing on where you are, and why you should care about it. I’m not familiar with the source material, so maybe the film was just being faithful to the book. But I personally would have cared more about our hero, Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) if I’d known about his unfortunate circumstances earlier in the film.
I think your enjoyment of this film is really going to depend on how familiar you are with the source material. This film can also get pretty intense and loud, and some of the character designs might be a little too scary for really young kids.
This is a really great looking film, and a theater sized screen is recommended. At home a HD viewing on your TV is the way to go. Some of the film’s details will be missed if you view this on a tablet or phone.
It shouldn’t be a surprise how technically excellent this film is, considering it comes from the makers of Paranorman and Coraline (better films in my opinion). I loved the design of Cheesebridge, and the troll’s underground home.