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The Boxtrolls Movie Review

Reviewed by on Sep 26, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the fanciful adventure The Boxtrolls made by the stop-motion animation company that created Coraline and Paranorman. Check out our movie review!

By: Lynn Barker

Young Eggs is a tween raised by a scary, horrible bunch of trolls! Well, to the humans who live above their subterranean world, that is the story. The truth is that these little guys who “dress” in boxes, are friendly, nurturing and helpful. Hopefully, young Eggs and his new pal Winnie can convince the humans of this before an evil henchman can capture and kill them all!

Eggs and his Boxtroll buddiesEggs and his Boxtroll buddiesCourtesy of Focus Features

The World Below

We learn that, ten years ago, a baby boy appeared to be stolen from his dad in the town of Cheesebridge (where everyone is a cheese-lover) by strange underground dwellers called Boxtrolls (because they use boxes as clothing and are actually named for the labels on the boxes). This kidnapping becomes legend and “The Trubshaw Baby” is the cautionary tale for every parent and child in town. Today, we see that the baby has grown into a tween boy called Eggs (voice of Isaac Hempstead-Wright) who has had a strange upbringing but who is very much loved by his Boxtroll family. They spend their time tinkering and invent devices from the castoffs of humans above. Eggs thinks he is one of them.

Boxtrolls grow veggies undergroundBoxtrolls grow veggies undergroundCourtesy of Focus Features

Boxtrolls meet WinnieBoxtrolls meet WinnieCourtesy of Focus Features


The town Boxtroll catcher Archibald Snatcher (voice of Sir Ben Kingsley) who wants to join high society by ridding the town of all of the evil trolls, doubles his efforts to grab more trolls while they are out on their nightly scavenging excursions. When Egg’s surrogate dad Fish is grabbed, he has to venture above ground in search of him. There he meets a girl his age; posh aristocrat Winnie Portley-Rind (voice of Elle Fanning) whose indifferent dad Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) won’t pay any attention to her despite her insistence that there is a human boy living with the trolls.

Snatcher, Winnie and goon are surprisedSnatcher, Winnie and goon are surprised

On the Surface

Unable to get the shy Boxtrolls to fight back, Eggs, dressed as closely as he’s able, as a human kid, goes above and learns why the trolls are so hated. Everyone believes the trolls stole the baby boy years ago and that they eat people! Winnie follows him as he searches for Fish and finds him in a cage in Snatcher’s dungeon. After rescuing Fish and watching Snatcher bloat up from a cheese allergy, Eggs and Winnie see that he forces the captured trolls to work for him building….something.

It's Eggs to the rescue!It's Eggs to the rescue!Courtesy of Focus Features

The Truth

Eggs tells Winnie the truth about his kidnap. He was given to Fish for safekeeping when his dad was attacked by Snatcher’s goons for refusing to build a special device for the evil troll catcher. Together, Winnie and Eggs vow to make her dad, the town mayor, see the truth. The Boxtrolls are not evil. Eggs, the snatched Trubshaw Baby, was never treated badly, etc. Winnie helps make Eggs a nice human set of clothes and they go back above to a posh ball at her home. Eggs tells Lord Portley-Rind the truth but he is simply too self-absorbed and selfish to see or believe it. Defeated, Eggs renounces the human world and returns below.

Boxtroll Fish and his buddy near their lairBoxtroll Fish and his buddy near their lairCourtesy of Focus Features

Snatcher Attacks

Using a giant machine built by his captive trolls, Snatcher seems to mash almost all of them inside their boxes. On delivering the smashed boxes to Lord Portley-Rind, he expects to join the aristocracy as promised. Captured and left in Snatcher’s prison, Eggs meets his dad, long imprisoned here. The machine was his design. Will Winnie’s dad ever believe the trolls are good guys? Will they ever get up the courage to fight back? Will there be any left after Snatcher’s machine does the worst?

Eggs finds two of his imprisoned buddiesEggs finds two of his imprisoned buddiesCourtesy of Focus Features

Wrapping Up

Like all of stop-motion master Laika’s films (most notably Coraline and Paranorman), The Boxtrolls achieves a creepy, ooookie charm. There is humor, wit and a creative and heartfelt story. The Boxtrolls was inspired by a section in Alan Snow's 2005 fantasy novel "Here Be Monsters!" and the main theme of the story is a question of nature vs. nurture. Who is responsible for who we become in life? Are we doomed to failure or can we take the reins and control our destinies?

Winnie and Eggs at the balWinnie and Eggs at the ballCourtesy of Focus Features

All the voice actors fit their roles nicely with Sir Ben Kingsley really standing out as the evil, greedy and half mad “baddie” Archibald Snatcher. Even though the making of this kind of stop-motion film is artfully and painstakingly slow, the pace of The Boxtrolls moves right along with some fun action throughout. Laika has created another dark and detailed world with plenty of cute background “stuff” to attract your attention. The film is a little too long at 1 hour 37 minutes for really young kids but should hold the interest of tweens through adults.

Winnie and her parents at a festivaWinnie and her parents at a festivalCourtesy of Focus Features

The Boxtrolls seems to be a combo of the Aardman studios “Wallace and Gromit” brand of humor (complete with a cheese obsession) and Tim Burton’s gothic faire. Edward Scissorhands comes to mind. Stay for the end credits for a clever little tribute to the movie’s tireless and dedicated stop motion animators. It’s funny and informative. We go four stars.

The Boxtrolls Movie Rating:4

The Boxtrolls PosterThe Boxtrolls PosterCourtesy of Focus Features

The Boxtrolls is in theaters now!