"The Boxtrolls" is another charmer from the stop-motion animation studio Laika, following in the painstakingly animated footsteps of "Coraline" and "ParaNorman."
Set in a Victorian-like era where status is based on the color of your hat (white being supreme) and how extravagant a cheese you can afford.
"Boxtrolls" follows Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright), a lost boy living with a clan of trolls -- who, yes, wear boxes and are named based on the original contents of their box -- in a mechanical world under the city streets. He spends most of his time with Fish, a father-like figure who teaches him and plays music with him. Charming, indeed.
The Boxtrolls are made out to be villains, especially by Archibald Snatcher (voice of Ben Kingsley), a red hat-wearing exterminator who wants to rid the town of Boxtrolls in exchange for a white hat and a seat at the finest cheese-tasting table.
"The Boxtrolls" is a soulful film about family and friendship. It's also a hilarious, gloriously animated action film with mind-boggling set pieces.
Laika's ability to create a unique world is unparalleled; one could imagine a museum exhibit of their movie sets.
The film unfolds into a massive action adventure story amped up with silly humor, colorful characters and wild steampunk contraptions.
"The Boxtrolls" is a serious achievement -- entertaining, bewildering and a joy to experience. Be sure to stick around to the end for a wonderful scene.
Directed by Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Voices of Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Richard Ayoade, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Simon Pegg