If there has been a bigger recent victim of bad marketing than “The Boxtrolls,” then I cannot think of it.
From the trailer and previews I had seen for this movie, I walked in expecting to suffer through an egregiously bad animated film, but what I found was a children’s film that was equal parts witty, charming and heartwarming.
The film is about the titular boxtrolls and the human boy, Eggs, who lives with them under the streets of the dairy-obsessed town of Cheesebridge. All of the boxtrolls are named after the boxes they inhabit, which is where Eggs got his name and where his pseudo-father Fish got his.
The people of Cheesebridge view the boxtrolls as thieves and monsters, as does Archibald Snatcher. He plans to capture all of the boxtrolls and use them as pawns so he can acquire political power and join the comically out-of-touch upper class in their cheese-tasting room. The aristocrats of Cheesebridge are led by Lord Portley-Rind, who is much more preoccupied with his cheeses than he is with the well-being of his town or of the needs of his daughter Winnie, the first human to befriend Eggs.
What follows is standard, but good, kid friendly plot. At the heart of “The Boxtrolls” is a message centered on acceptance of those different from yourself and being your own person.
This movie is a perfect film to take a younger sibling or family member to see. Intended audience aside, the writers of the film manage to mix up the humor and plot enough to keep the adults in the audience engaged.
The humor of the film is definitely where the film the stands out. The meta humor between Snatcher’s henchmen is especially hilarious as they constantly question what side of the moral battle of good and evil they are on.
The explosive ending to the film also provides quite a nice chuckle, and the typical kid friendly slapstick is done really well throughout the film.
Visually the film is quite entertaining as well. Shot in stop motion animation, the film has great depth, and everything on-screen is vibrant and lively.
There are few parts where the animation does seem especially rough however, and these moments do take away from some of the immersion of the film. As far as complaints go, the film is passable on all fronts.
Nothing is outrageously bad, in fact everything is reasonably good, but the film does not standout in any particular area except for the comedy.
Ultimately, “The Boxtrolls” is a cute film that provides a good way to spend an hour and a half of entertainment and laughing, but there is not much beyond the surface level for adults.