Have you ever, when you’ve met someone new, or been stuck next to a stranger for any length of time, had an extreme disliking of them, for no real reason? (I really hope it’s not just me by the way). There’s a review here somewhere, I promise. When the trailer came out for Boxtrolls, I was a little ‘meh’. It looked alright, but I was going to wait for the DVD release to watch it. Then the Oscar Nominations came out, The Lego Movie was denied a slot, but there was The Boxtrolls. From that moment, I hated the film for that reason alone.
But the other night, I decided to give it a try. Partly because I felt guilty, and one of my friends wouldn’t stop singing it’s praises. Partly because I wanted to see why the Academy thought it more deserving than The Lego Movie.
The Boxtrolls are a group of mischievous but kind-hearted creatures who live underground in the town of Cheesebridge. They each wear a box which they hide and sleep in, and never take off. Together, they raise an orphaned boy who they have named Egg, after the box he wears. Trouble hits the Boxtrolls when Archibald Snatcher, the town’s exterminator, starts to capture them all.
Anyone with an appreciation for stop-motion animation will be fascinated by this film. I studied it very briefly in college, and it was a royal pain in the ass. It’s easy to forget just how long each movement must have taken to create, and I did forget, until a really clever, almost breaking the fourth wall moment after the credits. That little clip really brought a smile to my face.
The Boxtrolls themselves are adorable. They’re grubby, heavy-handed, but loving and helpful at the same time. They’re all named after whatever is on their box, so you have Fish, Shoe, Sweets, Wheels, and even Knickers, who’s constantly pulling up his box. My favourite thing about stop-motion animation is due to the crazy amount of time it takes to create, there’s plenty of tiny, intricate details to spot. Wallace and Gromit is a great example of that.
My absolute favourite part of any kind of animated film is trying to work out who voices each character. It’s like a game to me, and I feel sorry for whoever is watching the film with me as I’ll pause every few minutes to pop onto IMDB to see if my guesses were right. I didn’t guess Ben Kingsley at all, that was a huge surprise to me, and as much as I love Richard Ayoade, his voice didn’t match his character at all, which was weird.
The plot was predictable, and the little twist was fairly obvious, but I can’t criticise that as I’m not the target audience. It didn’t spoil anything for me, however. All in all, I really enjoyed The Boxtrolls, and I’d like to apologise to it for the undeserved hatred I gave it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and buy a Fish Pop! Figure…