Boxtrolls represents another entry into the glorious pantheon that is Laika Productions . Laika is the animation/stop motion company behind such wonderful films as Coraline and ParaNorman. So it was understandable that fans would expect great things from their newest release. Did the film live up to expectations? Did Boxtrolls sufficiently entertain the young adult market that Laika was aiming for? Let’s dive in and find out!
Boxtrolls 3D is a stop motion animated film that stars the voice work of such Hollywood darlings as Simon Pegg, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright. The screenplay is based off of the story ‘Here Be Monsters!’ by Alan Snow. The film was put together on a bloated $60 million dollar budget and definitely was feeling pressure to succeed when it hit theaters this past September. The film made a decent amount of money but was, by all accounts, not quite the blockbuster that Laika was hoping for. Disregarding the financial aspect of the film we can see it for exactly what it was: a special film with heart, style and substance despite its lukewarm financial success; Think of the release as a cheap form of escapism, as opposed to a full blown trip to some exotic locale, far away from everyday life.
Boxtrolls 3D is set in 1905 in the town of Cheesebridge. Rumors float around town that there is a group of trolls, living underground, kidnapping and murdering little kids. Pretty intense opening to a children’s movie, right? These trolls, called Boxtrolls, can only be dealt with in one way: via the pest exterminator by the name of Archibald Snatcher. Snatcher agrees to put an end to these trolls in exchange for a spot on the city council.
As it turns out the Boxtrolls are nowhere near the dangerous vagabonds that they are made out to be and are, instead, quite the fun and peaceful family. They have raised a young boy named Egg alongside of them and it is him who we follow throughout the rest of the film.
Boxtrolls works best when it isn’t trying too hard and instead chooses to rely upon its unique visual flair. The colors are vibrant, the set pieces extravagant, and the individual boxtrolls themselves look fantastic. It is easy to see why children could fall in love with the story. The voice actors do wonders with their lines and we quickly can lose ourselves in the story.
Many prospective viewers of Boxtrolls 3D have rightly been concerned as to how the stop motion style of animation would translate to the 3D cinema. The truth is, 3D works fantastically for this style of film. While Boxtrolls 3D avoids most of the ‘pop out’ gimmicky style of 3D there are still plenty of wonderful things to see. There are so many layers of detail and energy that each frame really seems to capture our complete concentration. The 3D version of Boxtrolls offers its audience the most detailed look into what is obviously a very detailed and well made film.
The story of Boxtrolls is hardly groundbreaking. We have our classic under dogs versus the over the top boisterous villain. The film wraps up in a semi-predictable fashion and you’ll leave feeling like you didn’t really learn anything. Be that as it may, Boxtrolls 3D is a wonderful way to spend an evening with your young movie going family.