THE BOXTROLLS are a bit like Wombles. They sift through our junk and take it to an underground world where they polish it up and make it useful. They're odd but mostly harmless. And yet in the epilogue to this beautifully stop-motion animated and witty* film, the evil Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) wants all the box trolls killed! So follows a kind of murky animated noir with trolls being chased through Dickensian streets, moodily lit, and then escaping into gorgeously warm toned underground steam-punk worlds of loveliness - kind of like Fraggle Rock! It's just a wonderful time being in their world. Into this adversarial status quo comes our hero, a young kid called Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who has been raised by a boxtroll called Fish, just like Mowgli in Jungle Book. So when Fish is snatched by the evil Snatcher, Eggs stumbles into the above-ground world and meets the lovely Winnie (Elle Fanning), who happens to be the daughter of the Mayor who's in league with the Snatcher!
This movie is everything a children's movie should be! It creates a unique and visually stunning world populated with whimsical and wonderful characters that warm our hearts. There is genuine peril and tension but a happy ending and a clear message about not trusting everything you're told and the danger of prejudice. The voice acting is a delight and there's more than enough verbal wit to keep the parents happy. There is simply nothing not to like here. In fact, it's one of my favourite recent animated films, along PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS!
THE BOXTROLLS has a running time of 96 minutes and is rated PG. *"Do you think these box trolls really understand the duality of good and evil?" The movie is on global release.