Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Boxtrolls

by Alyssa Couball, Writing Intern

Tim Burton takes viewers on a quirky ride into the mysterious world of the boxtrolls. The boxtrolls live in a hidden underground community, beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. These charming yet mischievous creatures take in and raise a young boy by the name of Eggs. Everything seems to be great, between Eggs and the boxtrolls, as they spend their days playing music, eating, and sleeping. Suddenly, Eggs and the boxtrolls’ happiness is interrupted by the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher.  

Sntacher comes up with an evil plan to get rid of all the boxtrolls, in exchange for a place in the “white hats.” A place in the white hats, or the town council, means power over the town of Cheesebridge. 

In an attempt to save his family, Eggs decides to venture above ground where he meets and teams up with the very effervescent Winnifred. Winnie, the daughter of Lord Portley -Rind, one of the white hats, grows skeptical of Eggs when she learns he lives with “monsters.” 

Once Eggs realizes that the town believes the boxtrolls are monsters, who eat young children, he shows Winnie that they are both kind and nurturing. This moment leads to the revealing of an even bigger dark secret about Eggs's childhood. Together, Eggs, Winnifred, and a few boxtrolls, concoct a heroic scheme to save Eggs’s family before all the boxtrolls disappear.

I recommend this film for many reasons. Firstly, the film displays important themes throughout. Lord Portley-­Rind ignores Winnie time and time again, leading to serious sympathy for her character. Only when Winnie’s life is endangered does he realize his err. The film teaches to appreciate what you have in front of you, and that even a “white hat” is secondary to family. Supposedly, Eggs does not fit in his “box,” being very different from the boxtrolls. There, the film reveals a dynamic that exists in many families. Everyone and every family is unique and appearances do not matter, as long as you love each other. 

Lastly, the film continuously teaches: don't belief everything you hear. Winnifred, and the entire town of Cheesebridge, thinks the boxtrolls are monsters who eat people. But actually they are loveable, helpful, and altruistic adorable little beings.

The Boxtrolls, based on the novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, exhibits outstanding vocal performances. These performances include the voice talents of Elle Fanning (Winnie), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Eggs), Tracy Morgan (Mr. Gristle), and Ben Kingsley (Archibald Snatcher). The boxtrolls also speak their own language that’s fun for kids.

While the film packs in strong life lessons, I feel the necessity to tell parents that the film includes a few arguably inappropriate elements. For example, Archibald Snatcher poses as a woman by dressing up as Madame Frou Frou. Madame Frou Frou bats her eyes and dupes people into thinking the boxtrolls are all evil--and all of them should be dead. In one scene, she sings a song about how awful they are to all the townspeople. Perhaps, the Madame Frou Frou disguise is completely innocent. Or, maybe Snatcher cross-dresses for fun. Only you can judge for your family. Additionally, a scene between Winnie and Eggs involves a talk about “privates.” Immediately, while watching, I looked over at my nieces and gulped in embarrassment. I sure hope they don’t repeat that.

I suggest that children watch the film with their parents; it earned it’s PG rating. But honestly, it’s a movie from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman, how could you go wrong?
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