The Boxtrolls (2014) [4K UHD Steelbook review]

Troy revisits The Boxtrolls freshly arriving on 4K UHD from Shout Factory.
Video - 9.3
Audio - 9.7
Movie - 9.1
Special Features - 9.2

“The Boxtrolls” is a film that stands out for several reasons. Firstly, the film’s stop-motion animation technique sets it apart from other 2010s animated films. Stop-motion animation is a painstaking and time-consuming process that requires a great deal of patience and attention to detail. The Boxtrolls’ use of this technique adds a sense of depth and texture to the film that cannot be achieved with traditional computer-generated animation. The attention to detail in each scene, from the intricate sets to the expressive character movements, is a testament to the artistry of the animators and their commitment to creating a unique and immersive world.

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The Boxtrolls helped continue Laika’s dominance into the 2010s.

The film’s storyline is also a departure from the typical narrative structure of animated films. “The Boxtrolls” tells the story of a group of underground-dwelling creatures who raise an orphaned human boy named Eggs. When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher, sets out to exterminate the Boxtrolls in order to gain social status, Eggs must team up with a young girl named Winnie to save his adoptive family. This storyline is refreshingly original and contains themes that are both thought-provoking and relevant to modern society, such as classism and social hierarchy.

One of the most notable aspects of “The Boxtrolls” is its visual style, which is at once whimsical and grotesque. The film’s character designs are inspired by the work of British illustrator and author, Edward Gorey, and the result is a cast of quirky and memorable characters. The Boxtrolls themselves are a particularly unique creation, with each member of the clan wearing a different box on their backs that serves as both their home and their identity. The film’s dark and eerie setting also adds to its overall atmosphere, as the town of Cheesebridge is shrouded in mist and populated by eccentric and creepy characters.

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How the Boxtrolls was received upon release

Despite its unconventional approach to storytelling and animation, “The Boxtrolls” was met with mixed reviews upon its release. Some critics praised the film’s visual style and original storyline, while others criticized its writing and pacing. In particular, some critics felt that the film’s humor and tone were too dark and off-putting for younger viewers. However, I believe that these criticisms are a result of the film’s deliberately controversial writing style.

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The Boxtrolls as reflection on society

The writing style of “The Boxtrolls” is not typical of most modern animated films. While many animated films rely on broad humor and colorful visuals to appeal to a younger audience, “The Boxtrolls” takes a more nuanced and complex approach. The film’s humor is often dark and satirical, with jokes that are aimed at an older audience. For example, Archibald Snatcher’s obsession with gaining social status is a commentary on the emptiness of material wealth, while the film’s portrayal of Cheesebridge as a society that values appearance over substance is a critique of contemporary culture.

While this controversial writing style may not appeal to everyone, I believe that it is one of the film’s strengths. “The Boxtrolls” is not a film that panders to its audience, but rather challenges them to think critically about the themes and ideas it presents. This approach sets the film apart from other animated films of the 2010s and contributes to its lasting impact on the genre.

In addition to its writing style, “The Boxtrolls” also contributes to 2010s animated films by subverting traditional gender roles. The film features a strong female character in the form of Winnie, who is intelligent, resourceful, and unafraid to challenge authority. Winnie’s character is a refreshing departure from the stereotypical female characters often seen in animated films, who are often relegated to supporting roles or love interests. By giving Winnie a prominent role in the film’s plot and allowing her to be an active participant in the story, “The Boxtrolls” sets a positive example for young viewers and contributes to the growing trend of empowering female characters in animated films.

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Final thoughts on The Boxtrolls

Finally, “The Boxtrolls” also contributes to 2010s animated films by emphasizing the importance of community and belonging. The Boxtrolls, despite their differences from humans, are a close-knit community that supports and cares for one another. This message of inclusivity and acceptance is an important one for young viewers, who may struggle with feelings of isolation or insecurity. By emphasizing the importance of finding one’s place in a community, “The Boxtrolls” encourages viewers to embrace their differences and celebrate their unique identities.

“The Boxtrolls” is a unique and engaging animated film that stands out from the pack due to its stop-motion animation, original storyline, and controversial writing style. While the film may not be for everyone, its nuanced approach to humor and storytelling challenges viewers to think critically about the themes and ideas presented. Additionally, the film’s strong female character and emphasis on community and belonging contribute to the growing trend of empowering and inclusive animated films. “The Boxtrolls” is a film that deserves to be celebrated for its artistry, originality, and thought-provoking message.

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Shout Factory does right by The Boxtrolls on 4K Steelbook

The Boxtrolls comes together with the Steelbook 4K package I’ve been expecting from recent Laika releases by Shout Factory. You’re getting a new 4K restoration and Atmos 7.1 mix that looks and sounds like a million bucks. I know that people get wishy washy about films of a certain age and their transfers. However, there are no DNR or major issues to report here.

The majority of the special features from the storyboards to the featurettes are ports over from the historical Blu-ray releases. It’s great to see movies get an A/V upgrade when making it to 4K UHD. But, would it hurt not to throw in some new supplemental material from time-to-time? Oh well, it’s still worth a pick-up.

The Boxtrolls is now available on 4K UHD

Written by
Troy Anderson is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of AndersonVision. He uses a crack team of unknown heroes to bring you the latest and greatest in Entertainment News.

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