My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that it is not a bad film, and it is not one of the worst films of this year but…………..it does not stop the film from being utterly boring. I struggled to watch through the entire thing, and there was not too much that I could really invest in with the characters. Maybe it is just because this film (and films like these) are not my taste.
The only piece of production information I found on this film is that it was announced in 2008.
So the film takes place in 1805, in a town called Cheesebridge, where Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) spreads rumors about these creatures called the Boxtrolls, where he says that they eat and kidnap children, and a bunch of other stuff to make them look out to be monsters. He makes a deal with the mayor Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), so he can exterminate all of the Boxtrolls in the city for a White Hat (which means the person is of higher status in their city).
We soon see the Boxtrolls gather stuff and trash from the upper world (as they live underground), and go back to their homes, where we see that they use the materials they find to make inventions.
As a Boxtroll kidnapping happens, the mayor’s daughter Winnie Portley-Rind (Elle Fanning) sees it through her window, causing her to approach her father, but he refuses to listen to her, as hall he can care about is his city issues, and his cheese. He dismisses her rudely to tell her to go wash his hat,which she takes, and throws it out of the window in a bratty manner.
The exterminator Archibald finds the hat outside, and as Winnie rushes to get it, she is forced to speak with Archibald, and they walk back to her house, where her father’s hat is given back to her. Somehow the girl manages to see Eggs and the trolls running around, which will be important for later in the film. I forgot to mention that Winnie is obsessed with Boxtrolls, or obsessed with her fear about them, because she constantly rants about the horrible things she does, and wanting nothing to do with them. The next day I believe, Eggs decides to not wear his Boxtroll outfit to fit in with the Upper world, so he can find a Boxtroll (forgot his name), to bring him back.
They go into Snatcher’s factory, where Snatcher has a bunch of bumpy shit on his face for……………..some reason I cannot comprehend, Maybe it is for an invention that he is trying to get the Boxtrolls to make or something, it really is no clear to me. What I do know is that Snatcher still really wants that hat. This film is such a bore. Seems like my question would be answered a few minutes later, when Snatcher shows the Boxtrols inventing something for him. The Boxtroll that Eggs tries to take back falls, and is given back to the enemy.
The Boxtrolls then tell him that he was given to them by his father (who was an inventor), right before he was murdered by Archibald and his mentors Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade), and Mr. Gristle (Tracy Morgan). She then explains to him the concept of a father is to love them and to help them, and oh my goodness. I should not be surprised that this film was going to go this route, but they just do it so poorly compared to all of the other films that has the “two worlds, has to choose one” storyline. So she takes him to her house, where there is a ball to celebrate a cheese wheel that just arrived, and they are there so he can tell her father the truth. Her mother Lady Portley-Rind (Toni Collette) asks her who this the guy she is with, and he makes a weird greeting to her (because he does not know any better), creeping her out. Winnie then leaves for a moment, and Eggs manages to creep everybody in the room out.
The crossdresser (apparently named Ms. Frou Frou) has a hold of him and is about to lock Eggs in the closet, where he reveals that he is Archibald, and that the Boxtrolls will be dead tonight after his invention works, and he will be forced to receive a white hat, but someone interrupts, telling Ms. Frou Frou that “she” owes him a dance, which causes Eggs to easily walk out.
He tells Winnie it was nice to meet her, but he is tired of being a human, since her father did not help him, and he tells the Boxtrolls that they need to leave, but all they do is hide. I am gonna wrap this up quickly. Archibald and his sidekicks show up with their machine, takes them all to their factory, he sees that his father Herbert Trubshaw (Simon Pegg) is in the cell beside him, and that he was not murdered, but trapped there for 11 years. Archibald runs over all of the Boxtrolls, which he tells Eggs, only to be proven wrong when the Boxtrolls escaped their boxes right before the machine went for them. Archibald tries to take the white hat forcefully, but is defeated by the trolls, Eggs, and his father Herbert before he swells into some giant blob. I am still confused as to the whole swelling thing, which is never explained well. He tool Winnie and demands her father to give him the hat for Winnie’s safety, which he does (so he IS a good father. Learn something new every day). Soon enough, Archibald blows up after eating a piece of cheese, the minions are dealt with, after that, the people live peacefully with the Boxtrolls.
The characters are flat and not interesting at all. They are not horrible, but there is not really anything to remember about them, and they could have made them stronger characters with more characterization.
The other characters either have no characterization at all (Boxtrolls), have little to no importance (Winnie’s mother), or people I forgot were even there (Archibald’s sidekicks).
The animation is very detailed for a stop-motion film. There is definitely a Victorian era style to the film, with some very nice textures. But I do wish that there was not so much grays and other plain, bland coloring in the film, because it did help add onto my boredom.
The music……………..there is nothing special about the music. It was kind of fitting for the film and the theme of the film, but there was nothing that would make it stand out. The music and the score is the thing you will be thinking about the least when it comes to this film.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on September 26th, 2014, it has (by November 1st, 2014) made $89.3 million (I could not find the domestic and international rates as of yet). It opened at #3 on its opening weekend, so it did okay. I honestly do not see this film making over $150 million by the end of its theatrical run. Stop motion films usually do not do to well in the box office since it does not capture the flashiness that kids nowadays are into.
When it comes to the reviews, it received positive reviews, liking it for its well paced story, the animation, and the overall entertainment, most reviews did call it weaker than Laika’s earlier works, like Coraline and Paranorman.
= 28.5/40 = 71%