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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.
All Critics (164)
| Top Critics (36)
| Fresh (125)
| Rotten (39)
The Boxtrolls represents the best animated movie to reach theater screens since The Lego Movie exploded on the scene in February.
There are many more delighted 'Ewwws' than too-easy 'Awws' in this charming, if a tad cynical, feature from the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman.
It's a world that runs in a parallel universe akin to that of Charles Dickens, with creatively named characters involved in seemingly outlandish adventures in a Victorian-era city where a moral or two plays out in the end.
It's a felt, funny, bracingly sincere kids' movie. And even more refreshing, it takes as a theme our social fixation with waste, salvage and repackaging.
Without being didactic, "The Boxtrolls" presents the dangers of a hierarchical society, separated out into high-status and low, and also has some very interesting and moving things to say about identity, family, and morality.
It's a wonderful world, full of Rube Goldberg contraptions below and colorful Dickensian squalor and excess above.
The Boxtrolls, a film I enjoyed on many levels but which contains some destructively retrograde messages, mixed in with its mostly progressive ones...
Despite its shortcomings, The Boxtrolls boasts enough to add up to an eccentric and overall rather entertaining entry in the animation canon.
The Boxtrolls is a quirky and highly enjoyable effort ... , crafting a simple tale about acceptance that has plenty of deeper layers for those who wish to dig.
Laika understand that the best children's movies have an inherent sense of horror. The Boxtrolls isn't as indebted to the genre as ParaNorman, but it does contain more than its fair share of moments that will give younger viewers sleepless nights.
The Boxtrolls is great fun that, unlike some of its aloof characters, is never overly pompous in its ambitions, always looking to entertain first and foremost.
The film's idiosyncratic character design and veddy English quirks might not appeal to every moviegoer's palate, but its admirable refusal to beg for your sympathies, deftly executed by a game voice cast, brings out your inner Wild Thing.
A decent and visually pleasing 3D CGI stop-motion animation that is enjoyable but doesn't do much outside the box, as it touches upon some interesting themes but never explores them in an entirely satisfying way - even though it does have its share of good moments.
Co-directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable manage something charming out of something outlandish in The Boxtrolls.
An 85 minute story about trolls in boxes proves to be a recipe for success. While not laying it all out on the floor in the early going, leaving a more mysterious buildup, the plot details gradually fall into place.
The visual combination of CG and stop motion mesh wondrously together, which could be said to make up for the lack of excitement the film exuberates. The characters lack the cuteness of a kid friendly picture, but their personalities give them the hint of adorableness they need.
The voice-work is a definite success. Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, and Ben Kingsley stand out above the crowd, with the likes of Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan following close behind.
By the time the end credits begin to roll, The Boxtrolls solidifies itself as a recommendable animated picture.
The stop-motion animation is just as great as Laika studio's past two efforts (Coraline, Paranorman), but the whole affair is about as charming as bland tea. Much like Paranorman, "Boxtrolls" boasts plenty of visual eye-candy but is weighed down by lame jokes and forgettable characters.
Another delightful film from the creators of ParaNorman, the whimsical Boxtrolls is another stop-motion treasure that plays just as well for children as it does adults. The fanciful world follows the industrious title creatures that have wrongly been demonized as villains. Snatcher (a tremendous Ben Kingsley) has much to gain by stirring up boxtroll fears, and if he captures them all he'll finally be allowed to join the town's inner circle of muckity mucks. We follow "Eggs" a boy who has been raised by the boxtrolls since he was a baby and his re-emergence with the world above ground, notably with the help of a morbid little girl, Winnie (Elle Fanning). The world building is confident and well developed, the storyline finds nuanced ways to be touching and deliver serious messages about peer pressure, assimilation, and the ways which we judge ourselves and whether those are even of merit. But the main draw is the glorious animation, so fluid, so lively, and a landscape that makes full use of color and light and shadow. It's an immersive experience that your eyes don't want to blink for fear of missing something. The plot is droll and expertly sequenced with its variety of character and comic asides. The vocal cast does a terrific job, notably Kingsley and a hilarious Tracy Morgan. The film can get a little spooky for young children but should still be comfortable viewing. The Boxtrolls is further proof that the animation house Laika is operating at near-Pixar peak levels of brilliance and deserve the benefit of the doubt with any future films.
Nate's Grade: A
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