One thing I try and avoid writing for WhatdoUwatch.com is covering aspects of entertainment that I don’t actually enjoy. Critics that are so damn critical of everything give me a bad taste in my mouth, worse than any terrible movie or disheartening sports story. So when I see a movie like ‘The Boxtrolls’ on a whim, I jump at the chance to dive into how remarkable an experience this film was.
Currently both streaming on Netflix and available to take home after visiting the box that isn’t blue, ‘The Boxtrolls’ is a stop motion animated movie produced by Laika, and is a fairly standard fairy tale about a lost child, and is also so much more. The overabundance of Pixar and other computer-animated films (don’t get me wrong, I contend that Pixar is one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity in this era) gives the claymation style of this film a sense of wonder and originality.
I’ve now decided that I can let my future wife name my son whatever she wants, ‘cause no matter what I’m just calling him “Eggs”. Eggs, lead character of the film (although the argument could be made that Archibald Snatcher is the lead) is a young boy raised by the boxtrolls, cute cuddly creatures who “steal” the town’s trash, collecting it for their underground cave. Of course, the town of Cheesebridge in Victorian England views them as monsters out for blood.
The government of the town is apparently run by four cheese fanatics that seem to spend all their time lavishing among their supply of fine bries and roqueforts. A bit grotesque in both looks and in the way they greedily hoard all of the town’s resources to stuff their faces with coagulated curd (cheese), the ruling “white hats” hand over the real running of their town to Snatcher and the other exterminators.
Archibald Snatcher (aka SPOILER Madame Frou Frou) is the driving force of the story. The mastermind behind the intense hatred and fear of the boxtrolls in the first place, Snatcher diabolically manipulates the entire town and the boxtrolls themselves, all for a seat at the “tasting room” table (the very private small council meeting in which the white hat governors of Cheesebridge relish in their collected assortment of cheeses). Ben Kingsley’s performance as the red hat villain is over the top and intense, perfectly suited for the personification of maniacal ambition the character represents.
The cheese in the movie represents all kinds of political corruption, addiction and greed. While not heavy handed, the metaphor takes root as the story unfolds through the eyes of the two children, Eggs and Winnie. Both children are struggling with parental relationships, Winnie can’t seem to get her father’s attention to save her life, Eggs feels his “humanism” contrasting with the teaching and customs of his boxtroll adopted culture. Added to Eggs’ story comes the truth of his origin, complete with a neat and tidy resolution. It’s an ending we all see coming, but one that always feels nice to watch, nonetheless.
I’m sure ‘Inside Out’ is higher on your list to see (if you haven’t already) than this American stop motion picture, but it is definitely worth your time (hey, it’s better than watching ‘Cars’ for the fourteenth thousandth time like your 9 year old wants).