The Boxtrolls (also sometimes called "Here Be Monsters") is a 2014 American stop-motion animated fantasy comedy film directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi (in their feature directorial debuts) based on the 2005 novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. It is produced by Laika as its third feature film. The film introduces Isaac Hempstead-Wright as the voice of Eggs and features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, and Simon Pegg. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2014 and was released on September 26, 2014.
The movie takes place in a fictional town during the Victorian era. For a while, there had been rumors about the creatures living in the town, known as Boxtrolls, who supposedly stole and killed a young child years ago, and thus the townspeople assume that the Boxtrolls are vicious. However, these rumors are false - the child is alive and lives with the Boxtrolls, and his name is Eggs. The Boxtrolls are also rather peaceful and only come out at night to look for items for their inventions. However, the town's leader Lord Portley-Rind decides to arrange a deal with the exterminator Archibald Snatcher to capture the Boxtrolls for a membership to the White Hats, which is the city's council for cheese, despite Archibald having a severe cheese allergy. As Eggs becomes older, he is shocked by the sudden disappearances of the Boxtrolls who are being taken by Archibald. He later finds himself in an annual fair that commemorates the disappearance of the "Trubshaw Baby" who was supposedly killed by Boxtrolls. He is disgusted by the inaccurate portrayal of the Boxtrolls as vicious monsters, and follows Lord Portley-Rind's daughter, Winnie. Eggs and Winnie now have to save the Boxtrolls from their bad reputation so that they don't get exterminated.
- Awesome stop-motion animation with very nice details that is well upgraded of Laika films.
- Likable and unforgettable characters, like Eggs. The Boxtrolls themselves are also very interesting and unique.
- It continues the charm of the previous Laika movies, ParaNorman and Coraline. It also continues the charm of earlier stop-motion films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride as well.
- This movie has a nice grasp of the book it is based on.
- The Boxtrolls being almost a family to Eggs is heartwarming and could be a positive message towards adoptive families.
- It has a positive message on accepting others for who they are and not judging someone before you get to know them.
- It has a nice musical score.
- Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi did a great job for directing this movie.
- It has a good ending, where the villain is died and the Boxtrolls peacefully coexist with the townspeople.
- The flashback scene where Eggs' father was supposedly killed by Snatcher was very emotional and touching.
- A lot of suspense builds up at some parts.
- Lots of great funny moments, such as when Winnie tells Eggs, "When you meet someone, you must look them in the eye and shake hands", and Eggs responds by doing jazz hands. The part where Lord Portley-Rind hears Archibald talking in his Madame Frou-Frou voice and says in realization, "Oh my God, I regret so much!" was also pretty funny.
- Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley's character) is a great and funny villain and the fact that he finds the taste of the cheese to be delicious, but then seconds later, his allergy to milk finally sets off and he immediately explodes to his death in a yellow slimy mess, although very dark for target audiences, is well done.
- The end credits has well-done animated.
- Great voice acting, as always, such as Ben Kingleys, and Simon Pegg.
- The plot twist where Herbert Trubshaw (Simon Pegg's character) has been reveals himself, causing Portley-Rind and the citizens to realize that Snatcher lied to them was perfectly well.
- Although, this is probably the most lighthearted of Laika's films, it still can get very dark for a kids' film at times, like the scene where the Boxtrolls got crushed and killed, although it was later subverted, when the Boxtrolls are actually escape and fake-out deaths. There are lots of mentions of killing, the scene where Archibald has an allergic reaction to cheese and has leeches applied to him could potentially be disturbing, Archibald himself might be too scary for the target audience, and the Boxtrolls themselves may be intimidating at first. Additionally, some moments could possibly be too suggestive, such as when Madame Frou-Frou (Archibald in disguise) is performing, considering the outfit used is rather revealing. There is another scene where Winnie tells Eggs, "Don't do that in public, that's why they're called privates!".
- On that topic, Archibald's death is extremely gruesome, gory and disturbing for a kids' film.
- A few unfunny jokes, mostly involving bathroom humor.
- The townspeople aren't very interesting, and Winnie's father, Lord Charles Portley-Rind (Jared Harris' character) is a extremely unlikable character.
- The story is quite predictable, especially when it overused the generic "liar revealed" trope.
The Boxtrolls, despite the weakest film from Laika, received positive reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating 77% based on 172 critics, with an average rating of 7.10/10. The site's critical consensus states: "While it's far from Laika's best offering, The Boxtrolls is still packed with enough offbeat wit and visual splendor to offer a healthy dose of all-ages entertainment.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 61 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 77% overall positive score and a 61% "definite recommend".
- The manhole cover has on the the top "CITY OF CHEESEBRIDGE", and the bottom "HERE BE MONSTERS", while in the middle, there is a crossed fork and knife over a slice of Swiss cheese.
- After the first part of the credits, Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles have a philosophical discussion about their place in the world while, around them, that world carries on.
|Movies: Coraline - ParaNorman - The Boxtrolls - Kubo and the Two Strings - Missing Link
Contract works: Corpse Bride - King of California - A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas