THE BOXTROLLS (2014)

From the makers of CORALINE and PARANORMAN comes an odd, quirky movie that after a head-scratching first Act, settles in nicely and blossoms into a quite entertaining experience for the entire family. 


The unusual tale takes place in the far off land known as Cheesebridge where as you can probably guess the citizens are smitten with cheese of all kind. As a matter of fact only the privileged few have access to the very best cheeses known to man. This lucky lot adorn themselves in white garb with tall white hats that signify their privilege. 


This makes those of the lower classes quite jealous, especially Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley). But Snatcher has plans to earn a white hat by ridding Cheesebridge of all those pesky Boxtrollsthat live underground and are known as vicious creatures that snatch children and eat them. 


This is the farthest thing from the truth, the boxtrolls are actually quite tender monsters that enjoy scrounging for discarded bits and bobbles that they can use to build rube Goldberg-esquegadgets as well as adorn their subterranean abode. 


But there is an anomaly amongst the Boxtrolls, a boy named “Eggs” (GAME OF THRONES’ Isaac Hempstead-Wright), adopted as a baby. He believes he’s one of the boxtrolls and lives in fear of the world above. 


Eggs meets Winnie (Elle Fanning), the daughter of one of the white hats and soon their worlds are colliding as a mystery about a stolen child might finally be solved. Unfortunately it could also mean the end of the Boxtrolls. 


The stop-motion animation by Laika Entertainment is simply amazing and an achievement in the field. Also the imagination of the story feels like Roald Dahl by way of Tim Burton. 


Points also go to the incredible voice-talent assembled for the film. Kingsley steals the movie and it’s astonishing to think that the man who once showed zen-like restraint with Gandhi is capable of giving such an over-the-top performance (even after his loopy turn in IRON MAN 3). 


My complaint about THE BOXTROLLS is that it’s almost too out there and as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Act 1 is a little odd. I was wondering where the film was going and it almost completely lost me. Fortunately, it reigned itself in and I was able to enjoy the rest of it. 


My young children both adored it and as a parent I definitely recommend it because it’s different and a little more challenging from a narrative perspective. I appreciate movies that don’t sugar coat everything or dumb it done. Kids are smarter than you think and they deserve more films like this.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014