Laika Studios is at it again. The studio that brought us Coraline and ParaNorman have released a new film in theaters. The studio latest film deals with monsters who are not necessarily monstrous and a town that really loves its cheese. This is none other then The Boxtrolls; which is based off the the story “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow. Unlike Laika’s past two films, Boxtrolls looked to be different in both tone and style. However could this new stop motion animated film live up to the name of Laika Studios?
The story of the Boxtrolls deals with a boy named Eggs (played by Game of Thrones‘ Issac Hempstead-Wright) . Eggs sounds like a strange name for a boy, but that’s what happens when you are raised by Boxtrolls. Eggs spent his life being raised as a Boxtrolls, but all of that changes when he meets a girl named Winnie (Ellie Fanning). Winnie becomes mixed up in the world of the boxtrolls as she help Eggs save his massive family from the hands of Archbald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) and his red hat gang.
At its core, Boxtrolls has a simple story that anyone can follow. While the morals have been used before in other movies, that is not to say Boxtrolls was not effective with themes such as accepting who you are. If there was any major flaw in the story it was its pacing. The story moved remarkably quick as it gave us no time to really get to know the characters and the world of the movie. While the story of The Boxtrolls was a easy to following, a proper pacing would have made the film that more effective.
In a world of The Boxtrolls, you should expect a group of zany characters and the film definitely delivered in that area. From Eggs’ abnormal upbringing to Winnie’s obsession over the boxtrolls eating her and to just the town folk themselves, there was no sense of normality in this cast. The best performances have to go to the villains and the boxtrolls. Ben Kingsley seemed to be having a great time voicing the villainous Snatcher; while Richard Ayoade and Nick Frost were terrific henchmen duo. The majority of the Boxtrolls were voiced by Dee Bradley Baker and Steve Blum. The two voice actors truly showed off their talent as they established character and energy by speaking nothing but the language of the Boxtrolls. The rest of the cast may not have been as solid as those listed above, but everyone had solid performances which made for an enjoyable ensemble.
If there was one area that Laika would not disappoint in this flm, it would be in its animation. The stop motion of Boxtrolls showed how far Laika has come as it featured perhaps the studio’s smoothest animation yet (at least when it came to the characters’ movements). Thanks to the film’s sets and lighting, the animation was only strengthen as it captured the world of The Boxtrolls in a zany atmosphere. Also adding to the film’s atmosphere was the movie’s humor. The movie blended clever humor with the likes of gross out comedy, which made for an entertaining time for any age group.
The Boxtrolls may not be as strong as Laika’s previous films. Yet while it may not be at the level of Coraline or ParaNorman, there was still plenty to like about this animated film. From its simplistic story to its wonderful stop motion animation, Boxtrolls was just an entertaining time at the movies. It may not be Laika’s best film, but The Boxtrolls is a worthy entry for the animated studio.