Film Review: The Boxtrolls

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Plot: When the villainous Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) sets out to rid the world of every last Boxtroll, the only human being who knows that they are the good guys (because he’s one of them) vows to make sure that he doesn’t get his wish.

I’m a sucker for stop-motion animated films. When you throw Simon Pegg and Nick Frost into the mix, well then, you have my money. While the two actors are not stand out features of the movie, The Boxtrolls is beautiful to look at and features a lot of characters with personality, especially the titular trolls.

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Each troll featured has a distinct personality, which makes for a lot of fun. Their “lair” is especially beautiful, with a lot of moving parts that dazzle the watcher’s eye. It’s stuff like this that makes you really appreciate how much work the animators put into it, and you can see all of that detail on the screen. The movements aren’t as jerky as in years past, and the subtle usage of CGI helps the movie flow where it needs.

The movie isn’t extremely funny, but it doesn’t really need to be. It relies mainly on some clever gross out gags, or the boxtrolls’ vocabulary. And trust me, there are a lot of cutesy moments that kids will love as well.

I do enjoy how films like this, specifically stop motion animated, aren’t afraid to veer into the disturbing, really treating the younger audience like they could handle it. Films of a couple decades ago didn’t use to “dumb down” the content for children, and movies today like that are rare. Boxtrolls continues to buck the trend of sugar-coating its core, and even does a good job of setting up a class struggle scenario. It may go over the kids’ heads, but parents and adults will definitely understand it. In that matter, adults will find a lot to enjoy about this movie too.

The only issue I found here was the pacing. It’s sad to say, but when the trolls are absent, the movie lags a bit. Not a huge hit, mind you, but it’s something worth noting. On the other side of things, it’s a good sign that these characters who just speak in gibberish have so much to offer to their own film.

The Boxtrolls is sadly going to fly under the radar, I feel, as it doesn’t have this mass market vibe to it that will make families seek it out. It’s unfortunate, as the film is creepily cute, and would leave every viewer wanting their own boxtroll. I know I do. And know more needs to be said than that.

Rating: 8/10

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Logan J. Fowler is a senior writer and video game editor on Po-Break.com. He contributes his thoughts every week for Trailer Tuesday and has his own column called “A Link to the Past.” Logan’s “kid at heart” nature has led to his discussion about pop culture that many geeks love to talk about, including superheroes, Super Mario Bros., Pixar, and Muppets, amongst other things. In addition, one of his first pieces for the site, “Top Ten Comic Book Movies,” was picked as a “Freshly Pressed” piece by WordPress and remains one of the site’s most well-read articles. Currently, Logan works as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Roosevelt School in Manville NJ. At the present moment, he is enrolled in Rutgers Online courses, pursuing a Teacher of Student with Disabilities certification. He graduated from Wagner College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in 2007 with a Master of Science in Education Degree in Birth-6th Grade Literacy. Also many of Logan’s friends have said that he moonlights as Spider-Man but this is so not true. Wait, are those police sirens I’m hearing?! Gotta go! -thwipp-
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