With Laika releasing their fifth film Missing
Link this week, we’re taking a
look at each of their previous films. Today we take a look at their third
feature length film, The Boxtrolls, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable.
Released in 2014, The Boxtrolls takes everything great about the previous two Laika films and mixes it up into a tale of class systems and the dangers of putting too much power in the hands of the rich. The film centers on a boy named Eggs (Issac Hempstead Wright), who has lived with creatures named Boxtrolls since he was a baby. Thought to have been kidnapped as an infant by the creatures, as a ten year old boy Eggs lives peacefully with his Boxtroll family in tunnels beneath the city of Cheesebridge, Norvenia. The film follows Eggs as he works to stop an evil Boxtroll exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) from wiping out all the Boxtrolls.
The film shows early on that the Boxtrolls are silly, loveable creatures. They go out each night and scavenge to collect pieces of trash and different discarded items, which they then reuse to build awe inspiring inventions in their home below Cheesebridge. Snatcher leads the town in believing that the Boxtrolls are frightening creatures that would kidnap and eat the children in the city. Hoping that he can wipe them all out and earn a White Hat, which denotes a higher class.
The film goes on to show that Snatcher is obviously lying in his claims about the Boxtrolls, and he is in fact the monster living in Cheesebridge. He’s an entertaining villain that is just as much evil as he is ridiculous. His ploys to take down the Boxtrolls and convince Cheesebread of his claims are reminiscent of many classic animated villains, from ridiculous disguises to elaborate traps. While the Other Mother in Coraline was simply terrifying, and the zombies and witch in ParaNorman were scary but understandable. Snatcher is a different style of villain, the type you want to see more of, but also want to see taken down at the end. And seeing the adorable Boxtrolls fight him off is a joy to be had.
The film has plenty of other fantastic elements. From the themes of family and friendship, to the beautiful creations made by the Boxtrolls. But overall the film is truly highlighted by it’s villain. In the end The Boxtrolls is another success for Laika, and while they may not have as big of a name as Pixar, they’re without a doubt a studio that knows how to make films that have meaning and can last generations.
The Boxtrolls is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray formats.