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October 3rd, 2014

Movie Review - The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls



Starring: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Simon Pegg, and more.


Directed by: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi Screenplay by: Irena Brignull and Adam Pava Based on the Novel by: Alan Snow Music by: Dario Marianelli


Premise: Eggs, a young boy raised by Boxtrolls, encounters a girl as he tries to find his kidnapped friend, Fish. But, Winnie is not the only thing he discover while up in the human world, he also finds out that lies are being told about those who raised him. That the town believes Boxtrolls to be evil and must be eradicated. (Rated PG)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Ben Kingsley made a fun Archibald Snatcher, especially when eating cheese. Isaac Hempstead was adorable as Eggs. Elle Fanning as Winnie was a total hoot. Not your typical girl that one. Nice! Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan added a lot of depth to the film and were a lot of fun as Snatcher's stooges.


2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Laika just gets better and better. Their combination of physical sets, poseable characters, CGI, and blending of other effects just make for truly spectacular and fun visuals.


The look and feel of the Boxtrolls cavern was scintillating. And the contraptions and beauty they create from human trash endearing. The cavern was even a self contained eco system, with the boxtrolls wondering above solely for scavenging purposes. (They seem to not be able to help themselves!)


I also totally loved the weird town - a steep mountain of houses and shops - a totally isolated little island. And the trolls themselves were utterly adorable.


3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Though the commercials give it away, the film starts in such a manner as to make the audience believe there might be something evil about the Boxtrolls. Their glowing eyes and expressions alone are enough to give anyone a fright.


There are a lot of types of evil represented in this film. It was truly a lovely representation of several kinds, yet it was left entirely to the audiences' interpretation rather than getting preachy or sanctimonious. There's the evil of indifferent parents, the evil of selfishness, the evil of neglect with regards to work which affects others as well as family, the evil of assuming you're good and just rather than think about what you're actually doing and what it means.


Loved the use of red hats and white hats - a concept tying back to religious infighting amongst oriental monks in ancient times. I also enjoyed the ungirly like bloodthirstiness of Winnie. Her fascination with gore and the horrific - too funny.


The Boxtroll society was fascinating as well, all cogs of the same machine, yet individuals with different tastes and quirks.


Archibald Snatcher was a wonderful bundle of contradictions and surprises. He has a dream and it is worth any price - you won't believe what he's gone through and willing to go through for it on a personal level either. Dang!


The conversations between Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles were brilliant. Like Snatcher, they too believed in things not necessarily true or real, yet clung to them for all they were worth.


Conclusion: "The Boxtrolls" is a very cute film with tons of unexpected depth and food for thought. The animation is great and fun. Lots of stuff for both kids and adults. And there's a super cool bit in the credits where the curtain is moved aside and the audience can see the magic behind the product as it plays. Nice!


Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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