Although The Boxtrolls came to life via the hands of American minds and artists there is a decidedly poignant and quirky British feel to one of 2014’s best animations.
Yet I find myself pausing when typing animation because The Boxtroll’s is so much more – it is a labour of love. Admittedly, the feature could have entered the generated world and achieved success through that route but its attention to detail, its antiquated visage and its traditional inner workings transcends it past satisfaction and into the realm of utter gorgeousness and respectability.
The Boxtroll’s opens on the town of Cheesebridge and the eternal battle between the grotesque surface dwellers and the loving sewer lurkers. There is an overt call of good versus evil and a message that is often portrayed heavy-handedly. But in truth, the sometimes naïve screenwriting is saved by decidedly quirky, vibrant and explosive British comedy.
Precedent is given to belly bursting physical set pieces in which we feel the impact, the delivery and the comedy – much of this is clearly down to the terrific and great voice workings from the likes of Ben Kingsley, Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost and Tracey Morgan. There is a terrific growling undertone to Kingsley’s voice in particular and a slow and intentionally annoying droll to his stretches that makes Archibald Snatcher, the features protagonist, the true comedic monster of The Boxtroll’s.
Although its old hat narrative of ‘Who really are the bad guys?’ is typical and was even been recently featured in the likes of ‘How to train your dragon’, The Boxtrolls reaps the fruits of British sausages and delights in the subversion of lovable familial trolls and grotesque mob-like humans. It is a ray of light on the ancestor of animation and a damn good progression of cinematic artwork.
Score – B