The Boxtrolls Will Impress Audiences Of All Ages!
The Boxtrolls is an upcoming 3D stop motion film full of warmth, humor and a unforgettable characters, both human and non-human. Though it doesn't hit theaters until September 26, we got the chance to check it out early and share our thoughts!
The Boxtrolls, based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, takes place during Victorian times in a a town called Cheesebridge.
The citizens of Cheesebridge value wealth over all else. The leaders of the town are called White Hats, because they wear white hats. These white hats mark prosperity, power and an open invitation to stuffy meetings where the main order of business is eating fine cheeses.
The Boxtrolls tells the story of a species of lovable but misunderstood creatures, called Boxtrolls, who wear cardboard boxes like turtles wear their shells. Every night, the Boxtrolls leave their underground lair to collect trinkets and trash, but the people of Cheesebridge believe they are thieves, killers and, worst of all, cheese bandits.
Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley) is a despicable man who will go to any means to rise above his working class, Red Hat, life by becoming a White Hat. To achieve his goal, he hatches a plan to exterminate all of the town's "troublesome" Boxtrolls in exchange for his own white hat.
One by one, Boxtrolls are caught by Archibald and his three Red Hat henchmen. It's not long before only a few Boxtrolls remain.
One of these Boxtrolls, named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright), isn't much of a Boxtroll at all. Unbeknownst to him, he's actually a human boy.
Eggs was raised by the Boxtrolls, particularly one named Fish. When Eggs sees how distraught Fish is over the loss of his Boxtroll brothers, Eggs dresses "like a human" and travels to the surface during the day to investigate.
Quickly, Eggs learns why the Boxtrolls are being hunted down. He befriends an inquisitive rich girl named Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning), who tells an incredulous Eggs that he's human after all.
In order to set things right and save the Boxtroll race, Eggs will have to come to terms with his human nature and convince the town off the Boxtrolls' innocence, plus stop Archibald Snatcher in his evil wake, and teach the Boxtrolls to conquer their fears!
The Boxtrolls is a stunning film, both in its visual work and storytelling. The characters, props and backdrops are painstakingly animated by Laika animation. The puppets used in the stop motion animation were created in part by 3D printing, and the animators' hard work is apparent in every frame.
The character design in The Boxtrolls really sets it apart from other animated films. The Boxtrolls, while clearly of the same ilk, are just as distinctive as their human counterparts. They're at once frightful, disgusting and adorable, with the lovable appeal of the minions from Despicable Me.
A couple of the film's would-be villains wind up being some of the most lovable characters of all. The Red Hat henchmen are always up to some evil deed, but it's wonderful to see them question the morality of their actions and ask if they're, indeed, the good guys.
The animation for Archibald Snatcher is also notable. Paired with stellar voice work by Sir Ben Kingsley, the character comes to life onscreen with his gaunt face, hooked nose and terrifying grin. His lactose intolerance also makes for some hilariously grotesque scenes that work so well with the help of exquisite animation.
The use of color also makes for some interesting and effective character design. Cool hues appear in an unexpected and powerful contrast to some of the warm and muted colors, bringing a unique look to characters' faces and hair designs.
The film also benefits strongly from its use of 3D. While other animated movies use 3D animation for cheap gags and in-your-face graphics, the 3D in The Boxtrolls manages to create real depth, placing you right into the space of the scene.
The Boxtrolls takes place in Victorian times and never resorts to anachronistic references for laughs, like other time period pieces are wont to do. Besides its utilization of steampunk technology (which could never have really existed in the 19th century but visually suits the era to a tee), the film always stays true to the time period.
The Boxtrolls is brilliant and we highly recommend it to viewers of all ages, though it might sometimes get a bit frightening for younger children. If you're on the lookout for excellent animation, an engaging story and characters that will stick with you long after the credits roll, The Boxtrolls is the film for you!
Stay tuned for an interview with The Boxtrolls star Isaac Hempstead-Wright in a few weeks!
Also be sure to stick through the credits for a bit to see just how a movie like The Boxtrolls comes to be!
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