Trolls think­ing out­side the Box

Weird and won­der­ful char­ac­ters run riot in fam­ily film

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

such as Fish, Knick­ers, Sweets, Clocks and Frag­ile (ho ho!).

The metic­u­lous de­tail of the move­able fig­ures and minia­ture sets is im­pres­sive, and co-direc­tors Annable and Stac­chi cor­ral a vast team of an­i­ma­tors, who pro­duce thrilling chases and qui­eter mo­ments of rib­ald hu­mour.

The well-to-do, Vic­to­rian-era city of Cheese­bridge is vis­ited un­der the cloak of dark­ness by the epony­mous beast­ies.

One dark night, a Box­troll called Fish (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) kid­naps the in­fant son of a lo­cal in­ven­tor (Si­mon Pegg) and spir­its away the child to the un­der­ground lair.

This shock­ing act plays into the grubby hands of pest ex­ter­mi­na­tor Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kings­ley).

“Pre­pare to say bye-bye to your brie, chee­rio to your ched­dar!” cack­les Snatcher, strik­ing fear into the heart of Lord Port­ley-Rind (Jared Har­ris) and the other fro­mage-fix­ated noble­men.

They grant Snatcher a place at the cheese-tast­ing top ta­ble if the ex­ter­mi­na­tor and his hench­men – Mr Trout (Nick Frost), Mr Pick­les (Richard Ayoade) and Mr Gris­tle (Tracy Mor­gan) – kill ev­ery last Box­troll.

Un­aware that he is hu­man, ab­ducted boy Eggs (Isaac Hemp­stead-Wright) ven­tures above ground with the Boxtrolls and en­coun­ters Lord Port­ley-Rind’s snooty daugh­ter, Win­nie (Elle Fan­ning).

She ini­tially be­lieves the hor­ror sto­ries about Boxtrolls de­vour­ing chil­dren – “Eat me. I’m sure I’m de­li­cious!” – but once Win­nie learns the truth about Eggs’ past, she agrees to help van­quish Snatcher and his sniv­el­ling co­horts.

The Boxtrolls is a de­light for the young and young at heart, hing­ing on the no­tion that fam­i­lies come in all shapes and sizes.

Irena Brignull and Adam Pava’s script is laden with ver­bal and visual gags, strik­ing a gen­tly mis­chievous tone through­out, like when Win­nie spots Eggs tug­ging at the crotch of his un­com­fort­able suit and whis­pers, “Don’t snatch them in pub­lic. That’s why they are called pri­vates!”

Frost, Ayoade and Mor­gan pro­vide the majority of the comic re­lief be­tween ac­tion-packed set-pieces.

Re­main seated dur­ing the end cred­its for a hi­lar­i­ous scene of ex­is­ten­tial angst, which suc­cinctly re­minds us how pain-stak­ing and time-con­sum­ing the stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion process is.

The Boxtrolls’ de­tail­ing is im­pres­sive through­out the stop-mo­tion spec­tac­u­lar

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