Review: Boxtrolls

Woah, waayyyyy behind in my movie watching and still catching up on things from 2014!

Boxtrolls Review
Movie: 2014

Boxtrolls was the most recent movie by stop-motion animation studio Laika, whose previous efforts included Coraline and Paranorman. Using a mix of classic animation techniques and 3D printing, the studio has perfected a modern style that allows for expressive characters with a distinct visual style.

Boxtrolls is a gothic children’s tale in which the town of Cheesebridge is infested with the eponymous trolls. Rather like wombles or benevolent gremlins, the box trolls are scavengers and tinkerers. They steal things left out on the street and return them to their underground lair were the recycled items are rebuilt into gadgets for their own amusement.

However, when the story starts the box trolls have a sinister reputation. Some years ago a box troll apparently stole a human child – the theft of the ‘Trubshaw baby’ has become a cause-celebre and has been exploited by the sinister Archibald Snatcher – a pest exterminator with social ambitions and a serious cheese allergy.

The film is clever and silly. The box trolls themselves pitch their comedy at a similar point as the minions from Despicable Me – cute, incomprehensible and prone to slapstick. Aside from Winnie – the daughter of the mayor – the film is oddly devoid of women characters. Snatcher’s alter-ego Madame Frouh-Frouh aims for pantomime dame comedy but misses giving parts of the film an overtone of transgender misogyny.

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