The unspeakable has happened! We must speak of it immediately! A Boxtrolls Review

Boxtrolls movie poster

South Africans finally get to see the latest film from the creators of Paranorman and Coraline. As they say, better late than never.

The Boxtrolls is the story of a young boy named Eggs who lives underground with a strange race of trolls. The Boxtrolls are a race of tinkerers who scavenge the city at night for spare (and not-so-spare) parts, but an exterminator with delusions of grandeur will not stop until they’ve all been destroyed. It’s up to Eggs to save his home and friends from destruction.

The Good

  • Amazing stop-motion animation (animation fans should watch it just for this reason)!
  • Mostly great voice acting (particular mention goes to Richard Ayoade, who plays one of the supporting characters)
  • It’s pretty funny (a lot of the wordplay is great)
  • An ending that literally surprises you
  • The scene that happens during the credits (animators will absolutely love this scene)

The OK

  • It took me a while to warm up to Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Winnie
  • Reasonably well paced but mostly predictable story
  • Aimed more at kids…

The Bad

  • … which means far less complex themes than their previous film, ParaNorman

Overall Opinion

ParaNorman, the last film by Studio Laika, is one of my favourite films ever. I’ve seen ParaNorman at least 6 times, and have watched the ending of the film many more times than that. Needless to say, I had high hopes for Boxtrolls. So how does Boxtrolls compare? Overall I felt like Boxtrolls was… not necessarily a step back, but it was definitely a safe step sideways. It lacks some of the riskier choices the studio made with ParaNorman, which is what made ParaNorman such a great movie. This is not to say The Boxtrolls is a bad film. Far from it. It’s just that Boxtrolls ends up being a pretty good film, instead of being a great one.

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2 thoughts on “The unspeakable has happened! We must speak of it immediately! A Boxtrolls Review

  1. I have to agree with you completely here.. i had much higher hopes for this film. Paranorman is an all time favourite of mine, so of course, i nearly peed with excitement at the opportunity to witness another Laika puppet fuelled stop-motion fest, pop-corn included.
    The story had the opportunity to be so much more detailed- as detailed as the beautiful tea sets and frilly costumes they insisted upon (of course, no complaints from me but…)- even Coraline had a much more twisty story line (despite it being based on a book) but here i couldn’t help but feel short-changed. In Paranorman, my heart broke upon seeing Aggie at her trial.. Winne just seemed so very irritating for most of the film, and apart from the actual trolls, and the creepy bespectacled minion, i didn’t LOVE the characters as much.
    I hope they do decide to go back to their previous idea, another of Neil Gaiman’s books, a stop-motion portrayal of his ‘Graveyard book’ which they ousted last year…


    1. I hope they pick up another one of Gaiman’s books. That would be fantastic! I have unfortunately only read American Gods, but I have read more of his comic book work (including the graphic novel version of Coraline). Is there any of his books you’d recommend? I know most of his work is great, but is there anything good that’s a fairly quick read? I’ve got a few days break over Christmas and New Years so if I have the time I’ll try and squeeze in a couple of books.


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