In 2009, Laika LLC made their mark on the world of stop-motion animation with Coraline, a wholly amazing first attempt a full-length Feature film. After trying but not quite managing to live up to the standards of Coraline with ParaNorman (2012), Laika then created The Box Trolls. Is this as good as Coraline was? Well, here is what I have to say about it.
Based on the novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, The Box Trolls begins in the Victorian town of Cheesebridge where one night, a baby boy is seemingly snatched from his father by the titular creatures. The infant is taken to the Box Trolls’ underground lair on the outskirts of Cheesebridge where he is named Eggs and raised as one of their own.
However, this leads the scheming Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) to convince the cheese-obsessed Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) that the Box Trolls are a menace to the community. Although the safety of the inhabitants of Cheesebridge isn’t high on the Lord’s priority list, he still commissions Snatcher and his cohorts to exterminate the Box Trolls and the townspeople not to go out after dark.
Ten years later, the Box Trolls have proven to be far from dangerous, just timid to the point of nocturnal and scavenge for unwanted items that they turn into crazy inventions. Their adopted human Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has become one of their kind to the point that he believes himself to be a Box Troll. However, their scavenging nights are becoming under increasing threat from the wrath of Snatcher and their numbers are decreasing fast.
Eggs and his family are seen one night by Lord Portley-Rind’s inquisitive daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) but this only results in her incurring Snatcher’s wrath as well and her father ignores her. At the same time, another Box Troll is taken by Snatcher and to make Eggs’ life even more difficult, he encounters Winnie who is determined to find out more about the Box Trolls.
The next day, Eggs saves one of his Box Troll friends and ends up saving Winnie after she follows him to Snatcher’s lair but this leaves him with no choice but to reveal the truth about his friends to her. Although disappointed that everything she thought she knew was a lie, Winnie is relieved that the Box Trolls are harmless and more scared of humans than humans are of them. However, if they are to prove that to the rest of Humanity then Winnie has to teach Eggs that he is human and how to act as such. Of course, Eggs has a much bigger secret to reveal to Winnie and they still have the dreaded Archibald Snatcher to worry about.