Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Boxtrolls review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
The strange but wonderful stars of the latest stop-motion film from Laika, The Boxtrolls

            Laika, the animation studio that brought big hits like Coraline and ParaNorman return with their latest stop-motion animated film, The Boxtrolls. Like Coraline and ParaNorman, the film is weird and a little creepy, but it felt more lighthearted and child-friendly than Laika’s previous two films.
            Sure Coraline and ParaNorman were marketed as family films but they were both edgy and dark, but not too dark for the kids, but I’m sure Coraline probably scared the heck out of them, but I digress. The Boxtrolls gets a little dark at times, but it’s more from a humorous point of view, almost like a Tim Burton stop-motion feature.
            Somewhere underneath the streets, there lives a race of strange creatures that have been living in the sewers for many years. Sounds like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right? Well, these creatures are little trolls that wear cardboard boxes on their bodies known as the Boxtrolls.
            The citizens of an old village are absolutely terrified of the Boxtrolls and think they are going to eat them, but are they really as bad as people say they are? In comes a young boy named Eggs (voiced by newcomer, Issac Hempstead-Wright) who was found and raised by the Boxtrolls ever since he was a baby who comes out of the sewer and learns about the human world, with the help of a young girl, Winnie Portley-Rind (voiced by Elle Fanning-Super 8, Maleficent), the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind (voiced by Jared Harris-Far and Away, Ocean’s Twelve, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), leader of the White Hats, a group of leaders who run the village and tastes the village’s cheeses.
            Little do they know an evil pest exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley-Gandhi, Iron Man 3, Ender’s Game) is called in to find and destroy every Boxtroll in the village, with the aid of his dimwitted henchmen, Mr. Trout (voiced by Nick Frost-Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), Mr. Pickles (voiced by Richard Ayoade-The Mighty Boosh, The Watch), and Mr. Gristle (voiced by Tracy Morgan-First Sunday, Rio, 30 Rock).
            So it’s up to Eggs, Winnie, and the Boxtrolls to prove to the rest of the villagers that the Boxtrolls are not monsters and put a stop to Archibald Snatcher’s plan.
            Also featuring the voices of Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) as inventor, Herbert Trubshaw, Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine, The Way, Way Back) as Lady Portley-Rind, Winnie’s mother, and voice actors, Dee Bradley Baker (Space Jam, American Dad, Cow & Chicken) and Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, The Legend of Korra) as the Boxtrolls, Fish, Shoe, Wheels, Bucket, and Sparky.
            Overall, The Boxtrolls is a visually impressive and charming adventure for the entire family, weird but beautiful stop-motion animation, comical voice acting, and even funnier character designs, especially on the film’s villain. Now even though I enjoyed this film quite a bit, I don’t think it’s nearly as awesome as Coraline, I felt Coraline was better executed, a tad more adult, and overall a little more engaging, but does that mean I didn’t like The Boxtrolls? No it doesn’t.
            The Boxtrolls is a good movie, whether you’re a child or an adult, there is something in here that you will most likely find appealing. I love stop-motion animation, so of course I’m going to praise the film’s animation, but I also loved how creative the filmmaker’s were with the character and set designs, and a lot of them will get a good laugh out of you.
            So if you enjoyed Laika’s previous films, Coraline and ParaNorman or if you’re a fan of stop-motion entirely, you’ll probably enjoy The Boxtrolls, it’s an odd but sweet animated film full of charm and wit, just don’t expect a crazy powerhouse like Coraline.
            It still has impressive animation, fun characters, and hilarious moments that is sure to please the kids and the adults as well.


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