The Boxtrolls (also sometimes called "Here Be Monsters") is a 2014 stop-motion animated fantasy/comedy film made by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. It was based on the novel "Here Be Monsters!" by Alan Snow.
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.
Why it Rocks
- Awesome stop-motion animation with very nice details.
- Likable and unforgettable characters. The Boxtrolls themselves are also very interesting and unique.
- It keeps the charm of the previous Laika movies, ParaNorman and Coraline. It also keeps the charm of earlier stop-motion films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
- 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.
- It has a good ending, where the villain is defeated 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 is a great villain.
- Although probably the most lighthearted of Laika's films, it can get very dark for a kids' film at times. 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!".
- A few unfunny jokes, mostly involving bathroom humor.
- The townspeople aren't very interesting, and Lord-Portley Rind is very unlikable.
- The story is predictable, and it also relies on the "liar revealed" trope.