The Boxtrolls, a movie about being yourself, and also cheese

My quest to see all the 2014 Oscar-nominated animated movies continues with:

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls poster.jpg


Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, directors

Viewing Source: Netflix

Obviously, all five of these movies I’m talking about are good.  Bad movies don’t get nominated for Oscars.  But some are better than others, and I felt The Boxtrolls did not fully live up to its potential.

The Boxtrolls movie is actually loosely based on a book I’d never heard of, which has excellent reviews on Amazon so I may have to read it.  Its aesthetic lends itself well to Laika, whose movies I’ve enjoyed since their work on Corpse Bride.  Boxtrolls is visually similar to other Laika works, but a little more steampunk.

The boxtrolls themselves are charming, and one of my favorite aspects of the movie.  Other wonderful things include the use of music and the voice acting, which features the talents of Sir Ben Kingsley and Dee Bradley Baker among others.

Parts of the movie reminded me of Wallace and Gromit, yes, because of the animation style, and also the references to cheese, as well as the British sense of humor in general.  For example, the end credits scene where the former henchmen wax philosophical while being moved around by an animator was brilliant.  But quite a bit of the humor also relies on the grotesque, which doesn’t really do as much for me.

And I again ran into problems with the storytelling.  The key reveals, though entertaining, are predictable and movie gets less subtle about its message as it goes along, pretty much hitting you over the head at the end with the “know yourself/be yourself” theme.

And I really wish they had shown how Eggs learned to speak perfect English while living with the boxtrolls.  I have a feeling it might have been more interesting than parts of this story.