- RatedPG /GenreAnimation, Fantasy
Laika, the studio behind ‘Coraline’ and ‘Paranorman’, is back with a new offering, ‘The Boxtrolls’.
With their traditional stop motion animation and German Expressionism-influenced gothic aesthetic, Laika’s works have become instantly recognisable.
‘The Boxtrolls’ doesn’t stray far from what they’ve done so far – the detailed backgrounds, the grotesque and highly exaggerated-looking characters they’ve become famous for are all still present.
The movie’s plot revolves around Eggs (newcomer Isaac Hempstead-Wright), an orphan raised by underground-dwelling, troll-like creatures that the movie is named after.
Eggs is so named because he wears, an egg box. His Boxtroll friends are similarly named –Fish, Wheels, Bucket, Fragile and Shoe. Eggs and the Boxtrolls are tormented by Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), a pest exterminator.
The gentle and harmless Boxtrolls are made out to be monsters by Snatcher, who starts capturing them in order to impress the Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), the leader of the White Hats, a group of social elites in the town.
Snatcher hopes that he’ll eventually get his own white hat and join the elites. The hunt for the Boxtrolls leads Eggs into contact with Winnie, Lord Portley-Rind’s oft-neglected daughter, who becomes an unlikely ally for the Boxtrolls.
Visually, the film is already in a league of its own. While the designs of the characters and the Boxtrolls aren’t conventionally attractive or cute, they’re unique and it’s pretty hard to take your eyes off them.
Laika also allows the characters to take over. Fleshed out thoroughly and filled with quirks, just about every character, even supporting ones, get their turn in the spotlight.
Perhaps the most striking thing about this movie is its level of humour. Compared to the two previous films that Laika have produced, ‘The Boxtrolls’ is much funnier.
The movie cleverly mines Eggs’ for some fish-out-of-water slapstick gags that kids will be able to relate to, and also mixes them up with a large dose of more subtle, nuanced humour. For example, the White Hats are portrayed as policymakers who don’t really do their job and are instead obsessed with tucking into brie at meetings. Snatcher is allergic to cheese, but because he is desperate to be accepted into the upper class of society, he wants to eat it.
And probably the funniest element of the movie is Mr. Trout (Nick Frost) and Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade), two of Snatcher’s henchmen who have a running conversion throughout the movie about whether they’re on the side of good or evil. It’s a gag that’s hilariously meta and gives both young and old something to laugh about.
Wonderfully paced, ‘The Boxtrolls’ is a movie that doesn’t stop delivering the goods. It manages to transport its viewers into a totally ludicrous world and then proceeds to charm its viewers off with an assortment of goodies, which include painstakingly beautiful details and a ton of fun gags.
Perhaps, loyal Laika fans may be taken aback by the studio’s shift from their traditionally dark and haunting style to a slightly more fun tone, but, on the flipside, this is also a refreshing change of pace.
‘The Boxtrolls’ is now showing in cinemas