The Academy Awards are just this coming Sunday and while I’ve been planning to get a bunch of nominated movies a watch since a month ago, I haven’t had the chance. I did get one watched the weekend following the nominations announcement but I never got around to writing about it. Well, finally with one week left, I’m going to aim to get 6 movies I have available to be watched and reviewed.
The first one I chose on a late Friday night (weeks ago) was The Boxtrolls. Animated feature categories are always the ones that I know best because I’ve seen more of them. After this one, I’d have seen 3 of 5 in the animated features category. I doubt I’ll find Princess Kaguya or Song of the Sea though. If you’d like to check out Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2, you can find them HERE and HERE respectively. Regardless, lets check out what I thought about this one.
Director: Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
Voice cast: Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Isaac Hampstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
A young orphaned baby, Eggs (Isaac Hampstead Wright) is taken in by the underground trash collectors called The Boxtrolls. Brought up by Fish, the closest thing he had to his father, he’s always assumed he was a boxtroll, even if he was a little different. However, as he turns into a boy and soon realizes the dangers of being a boxtroll, the main one being hunted down by a man, Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) and his crew. Right at the most unexpected time, he runs into the mayor’s daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning) who not only makes him realize that he is actually a boy but tries to help him despite her ignorant father, Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) who only cares about cheese.
The Boxtrolls was one of my most anticipated of 2014 but unfortunately, I didn’t end up going to see it in theatres. The concept of the Boxtrolls and the whole stop motion animation is something I absolutely love. I’m a huge fan of Coraline and Paranorman and these are the same guys who did it. The teaser trailer did so much good because it was just these adorable men that transformed into boxes. Except as the official trailer came out, I started becoming a little bit more lukewarm to this idea. Now, the question is how does it actually do?
The Boxtrolls has very beautiful visuals in the whole stop animation way with its little details and the world of Cheesebridge and each of the quirky characters are just so fun. There is definitely a lot of entertainment to be had with this. I always like the concept of a boy who doesn’t realize he’s actually a boy but something else. The whole learning to be civilized is absolutely hilarious. On top of that, the voice work here is awesome.
Right off the bat, Ben Kingsley has one of the best voices and he does the main villain, Archibald Snatcher. One of the most compelling parts of a story like that is having a convincing and capable villain. While Archibald Snatcher is nasty and destructive, he’s also pretty funny because he wants to be something that he’s not exactly able to become. I mean, eating cheese is defined as being upper class but he’s allergic. Then he’s matched up with these hilarious sidekicks with two of them voiced by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are one of the best comedic teams ever. With them in here, you know that despite it still being a little dark, its definitely lesser than Paranorman and Coraline and a lot of laughter for adults.
For the kids, there are still some decent laughs. Thats where the whole voice work for Eggs and Winnie come in, plus the boxtrolls themselves. Its a very innocent group because they live underground and search up trash to sustain themselves. Fish bringing up Eggs have some really heartwarming and chuckling worthy moments. While Eggs being exposed to human interaction and Winnie’s appearance also merits a lot of fun times. Plus, there’s a good bit of adventure when the chases are happening between the Boxtrolls Exterminators and the group of Boxtrolls themselves. It adds some tension and action while keeping it fun and silly also.
Overall, The Boxtrolls boasts a good balance of quirky and witty story telling along with some very nice visuals. There are fun characters and the dialogue is suitable for both adult and children. Its a fun adventure movie with some cute creative creations while the humans still add a fun twist with all the cheese puns, or shall I say, cheesy puns? 😉 I suck at this pun business so forget I even said it.
Personally, I think Big Hero 6 and even How to Train Your Dragon 2 is stronger than The Boxtrolls overall and it has more of an impact. Still, I can’t ignore that The Boxtrolls are incredibly imaginative from the city of Cheesebridge to the funny and heartwarming characters up to the amazing voice work from everyone breathing life into this animation. Like I said, I have yet to see Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea but if anything, the visuals of Song of the Sea seem incredibly awesome. There’s some nice animated nominations here and I really wonder who will win it this year.
Have you seen The Boxtrolls? What are your thoughts on it? Are you a fan of stop motion animation?