Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Boxtrolls

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Trolls come in boxes now...but those boxes better be biodegradable.

The Boxtrolls – 5 out of 5

When I first saw the trailer for The Boxtrolls, I thought it looked like it would be a fun movie but it wasn’t enough to make me run out to the theater to see it…however, I should have because I absolutely loved every single second of this film—it was so fun, so well made, and so adorable that I can’t help but gush in my review here.
Dear me...that is freakin' cute as hell!

In the fictional town of Cheesebridge, underground dwelling trolls called the boxtrolls roam the night.  The citizens are scared and exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) strikes up a deal with the town’s mayor (Jared Harris) to take out all the boxtrolls and when they are all eliminated he will get a seat on the town’s high council; The White Hats.  Snatcher takes his team—the unsure Mr. Trout (Nick Frost) and Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade) and the simple and volatile Mr. Gristle (Tracy Morgan)—and set out to take out the creatures and spread vicious rumors about them, claiming they eat children.  Meanwhile, the boxtrolls are trying to live a simple life of being trash scavengers and raise a small human boy they call Eggs (Game of Thrones’ Isaac Hempstead Wright).  Unfortunately, the same time Eggs discovers he isn’t a boxtroll from the mayor’s daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) is the same time he learns a shocking truth about his past and has to gather up the courage to save his friends from Snatcher.
Great, now they are going to be abducted by aliens.

Laika, the animation studio that gave us Coraline and one of my favorite animated films ever; ParaNorman, brought that same level of quality animation to the animated loose adaptation of Alan Snow’s book Here Be Monsters! (I said “animated” and “animation” a lot in that sentence).  The thing about this studio that continues to blow me away is the realistic motions they create with their characters.  Everyone in this film moves so life-like that it is nearly mind-blowing.  There is such an attention to detail that they make the characters really come to life and pushes the film away from just being another stop-motion film for kids. 
Maybe if trolls stopped acting like trolls this sort of violence wouldn't happen.

The moment that sticks out for me was the sequence where Fish, the boxtroll that became Eggs’ adapted father, is taken by Archibald Snatcher and Eggs can’t save him.  When Fish is taken away, Eggs’ entire body slumps down with sadness and overwhelming sense of failure.  It’s a simple bit of bodily acting from the animated character but it spoke volumes to me and made me realize that once again Laika studios were here to deliver something incredible.  The way they make the characters move and the facial expressions they are able to capture not only helps dish out the emotion, drama, and humor the film was soaked in but they were able to ride that line where the characters move fluid and realistic and have them be over-the-top enough to look like they belong in this wondrous cartoonish reality they exist in.
Look at that smile...I wanna be his best friend.

I was just thinking the other day that my blog lacked greatly
in the troll butt department.
Like Coraline and ParaNorman, this stop-motion affair was perfectly crafted to be a family film where kids can have fun with the adorable boxtrolls and adults can appreciate the tender story—and both parties can appreciate the fact that the film doesn’t talk down to either of them.  The story is loaded with heart, humor, and fun that I was pretty much smiling and overwhelmingly enjoying myself the entire running length.  The story made me laugh (and it is damn funny) and even made me cry when it explored Eggs’ tragic past and the relationship that he has with the boxtrolls.  Just like ParaNorman, this movie absolutely and perfectly blended having tender moments with humor and action.
"Tell my boxtroll wife that I love her!!!!"

Believe it or not, I've met people who look like this.
Every time I review an animated film, I always have to talk about the voice acting because without it, you can ruin an animated film really fast.  Like everything else about this movie, the voice acting is top notch and some of the best I’ve seen.  Ben Kingsley is absolutely FANTASTIC as Archibald Snatcher—he was so awesome that I had to capitalize the word “fantastic.”  I honestly didn’t even realize it was him because he did such a great job of crafting a voice that fits the character perfectly.  And the team that Snatcher has is backed up so effectively by the trio of Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost, and Tracy Morgan.  All three of these actors fit like a glove with their characters and they brought so many funny moments.  Morgan especially was hysterical as he really nailed the simple lines of Mr. Gristle and really knew how to make the character hilarious.
There is either one of two things in that box...a boxtroll or something that Justin Timberlake
sang about.

Winnie kinda looks like she can start fires with her mind.
Isaac Hempstead Wright has already won my favor because of Game of Thrones but he was so good as Eggs.  The emotion he was able to convey and the confusion over the realization he discovers was tremendously displayed in his acting.  The same level is brought by Elle Fanning as Winnie.  There isn’t a single actor within this film that doesn’t deliver.  Jared Harris is great as Lord Portly-Rind, the mayor of Cheesebridge, Simon Pegg is great as the significant person from Eggs’ past, and the list of talented voice actors like Dee Bradley Baker, Fred Tatasciore, Maurice LaMarche, Tom Kenny, Pat Fraley, Steven Blum, and more really helped bring this wonderful fantasy world to life and made it fun and colorful.
But when I do that to my Subway Sandwich Artist I'm called a creep.

I have absolutely no complaints about The Boxtrolls.  It was fun, dramatic, emotional, hilarious, cute, whimsical, entertaining, delightful, adorable—it was all the good words that my little brain can think of.  Nothing about it felt out of place or like it didn’t belong.  It will definitely go down as one of the best animated films I’ve seen and it absolutely deserved my perfect score.  It was just that epic.

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