Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Movie Review: "The Boxtrolls" (2014)

Movie"The Boxtrolls"
Director: Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Image Source
Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) is a social climbing exterminator. He claims that the creatures known as Boxtrolls have stolen the Trubshaw baby and have eaten him. Snatcher makes a deal with the head of the town, Lord Portly-Rind (Jared Harris): if he exterminates all the Boxtrolls in the town, he will receive a white hat. The white hat is a sign of high social status and honor and also allows him to have a seat in the tasting room, where the owners of these white hats sit and feast on the finest cheeses in the land. What the citizens don't know is the Trubshaw baby has been raised by the Boxtrolls as one of their own and has been named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead White), as indicated by his box. The trolls really aren't evil at all, they are actually fun loving junkers who build machines out of trash. Now, the trolls are being picked off one by one and are in danger of being wiped out by Snatcher and his goons. It is now up to Eggs and his new friend Winnie (Elle Fanning) to save them. 

You're so square, and I don't care!

It's crazy to think that Sir Ben Kingsley lends his talents to the character of Archibald Snatcher because his voice is unrecognizable. He gives a commanding performance with only the power of his voice. You really feel an evilness and a desperation to Snatcher all based on how he is played by Kingsley. We can understand Snatcher's plight, and yet he blindly goes along killing innocent Boxtrolls all in the name of some tangible object which will bring him unbridled societal promise. He is so driven by his want and need for a white hat that he cannot even see the fact that regardless if he is successful or not in killing all of the Boxtrolls, the present sitting white hats will never, ever accept him into their fold because he is beneath them. Really though, all of the voice acting in this film was superb, from Nick Frost to newcomer Isaac Hempstead White.

The main theme that runs throughout the movie is "don't judge a book by its cover." Most of the characters are portrayed one way, but are actually very different than what they appear on the surface. Lord Portly-Rind is held in high regard in the town of Cheesebridge, yet he is actually a neglectful father and sort of a terrible human being. When tasked with distributing town funds to a new children's hospital, he and the other white hats take this money and instead, buy a gigantic wheel of cheese for themselves. Whenever his daughter Winnie discussed legitimate concerns about the Boxtrolls and her safety, he brushes her off and keeps discussing cheese with his chums. Winnie is portrayed as a proper young girl with a cute pink dress and pigtails, and yet is obsessed with rivers of blood, the gory details of Boxtroll lore, and death in general. Eggs thinks he is a Boxtroll, since he was raised by them, and has no idea how to be a proper boy. He even attends a party and eats the bugs that are flying around the mountains of cheese! Another interesting component of this film is Snatcher's goons. On the outside, they are his evil henchmen, doing whatever they are told without thinking twice. But, when they get a chance to talk and evaluate their situations, we come to find out that they think they are the good guys by ridding the town of the dangerous, bone-crunching Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls themselves, on the surface, appear to be vicious little creatures, but in reality, they are very timid and even scared of humans, they are extremely resourceful and have built themselves an entire underground ecosystem and city, and they really friendly once you get past all the of rumors. Doesn't this sound exactly like real life???

The story itself deals with some dark subject matter and could be considered frightening to some younger children. If they can get past this, this movie is really a marvel to watch because of its stop-motion animation. We always have a great appreciation for these types of movies simply because of the massive amounts of time and painstaking effort that goes into each and every shot, each and every movement, and each and every detail. The fact that the sets and miniatures are all constructed and come alive on screen is just stupendous to watch. The mid-credit scene is a must-see and is worth the extra few minutes it takes to stay in the theater. Watching someone actually animate a scene right before our eyes was just incredible.

As a whole, this movie sends a great message to kids and adults alike. Being who you are shouldn't be identified by what hat you wear, or what box you have, or any other society constructed label, but instead, be based on what you are made of on the inside. So often we are judged based on who we are on the outside that sometimes we are passed up for jobs, relationships, opportunities, etc. because of someone's snap judgement and preconceived stereotypes. We must all learn to break down these social constructs and just be us! Let your freak flag fly!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

No comments:

Post a Comment