Directors: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
Writers: Irene Brignull and Adam Pava
Cast: Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Tracy Morgan, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
Studio: Focus

“The Boxtrolls” opens on the town of Cheesebridge carrying out their targeted elimination of The Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are little imps that live underground and wear small cupboards over their bodies. The stocky box-shaped trolls adopt a young human they name Eggs and they raise him underground. Years later, Eggs meets a lovely girl on the surface and the two try to work out a way for everyone in Cheesebridge to live together. Unfortunately, her dad is Ben Kingsley and he wants to murder all of the little Boxtrolls. There are giant shades of Roald Dahl going on here.

Class warfare is at the heart of this kiddie tale. But, it’s handled in a way that seemingly parallels “Ernest and Celestine”. The matter won’t matter to most kids that will probably spend their lives not seeing that movie until they become movie nerds. That being said, while the story is very straightforward, the technical ability onscreen is insane. While “Coraline” and “Paranorman” represented great strides in stop-motion, Laika has built a world here. Each character has their own personality and there are multiple characters onscreen that play in a deep world that has underground and above ground parts.

I’d love to see Laika Animation take the Best Animated Feature Oscar for this film. I love to see a studio raise the bar this high while not dropping the quality of their storytelling. I love seeing a kiddie film based on how biased information can be when no one questions. But, I also like that loveable weirdo running around town screaming about Jelly. It’s been awhile since I appreciated an animated film like this and I’ve got to say that I’m sticking to my guns on it. “The Boxtrolls” is the best animated film of the year.


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