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Looneymanthegreat's Movie Reviews (125)

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The Boxtrolls 
Laika Rules Supreme!
3/4 stars

Laika studios has been a strong force for good for some years now, but they are not infallible. Their latest stop motion production, The Boxtrolls, is just as wonderful to look at as the rest of their catalogue, possibly even more so; but it’s also possibly the weakest yet. The Boxtrolls doesn’t really deserve too much negative criticism, it’s still a lot smarter than most animated films that are released to such a degree, but it’s difficult not to have ridiculously high expectations when you go into a movie that might as well be a sequel to the brilliant Paranorman.

In a world filled with empty headed children’s films, we need more like The Boxtrolls. It combines the intelligence of a movie like Frozen and combines it with some sick fun and originality. Children’s movies can be smart and complex without going over children’s heads, and they can also be fun along with it. I think that several, if not all, of the big animation studios on the block could use to take a lesson from Laika.

The film is more obviously about being yourself, and not worrying about what you’re “supposed to be,” and being who you truly are. Hidden amongst it all are some pretty clever political messages, that I don’t want to go to far into here; needless to say, this is a thinking man’s (or kid’s) movie.

Unfortunately the movie does a few things that I wish I could think less about. A lot of the characters, including the villains, aren’t much more than satiristic set pieces (for what is some unusually un-funny satire) and these characters take up a distressing amount of the films runtime. The main characters themselves aren’t really that interesting either, and the film suffers a bit from a lack of audience interest; during the whole film my brain was turning away, but my emotions were stone cold.

It’s also becoming clear the Laika’s films are following a pattern. Their movies are about young children in oddly dark situations and in the end they learn a lesson that’s kind of deep for a kids movie. Their children characters are always a lot less innocent then children in these sorts of movies usually are, and there’s always a sequence or two that stretches the boundaries of what people consider “appropriate” for family audiences. Maybe the next movie they release will be about two puppies that learn the meaning of friendship, but it’ll probably be about some child in a weird situation who learns a lesson filled with aggressive sociological undertones.

Of course pointing out the negative in a film like this can only be considered nit picky; Just because it isn’t as near-perfect as Coralline or Paranorman doesn’t mean it’s not good. The Boxtrolls is a movie that I think just about everyone can enjoy on some level. This is a movie you should definitely check out.

So go see it now. . . Laika needs money to animate more moody school children; and a world without Laika is a worse one indeed.

(If you like my reviews then you’ll love my movie blog Atchley-O-Saurus Movies! You can go there every week for fun movie facts, reviews and analysis!)


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