BOXTROLLS, THE

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THE BOXTROLLS. Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi, dir. Irena Brignull and Adam Pava, script, from the novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow. Paul Lasaine, prod. design. Curt Erderle, art dir. USA: Laike Entertainment (prod.) / Focus Features (US dist.). For details of distribution and other filmographic details, see IMDb listing.[1]


Classified in IMDb as "Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Fantasy" — but the animation technique is complex, including, as made clear in a kind of coda with the credits, a variation on stop-motion with puppets. Also BOXTROLLS is a fairly dark, sophisticated comic-fantasy of interest (useful here) to film and drama geeks for placing a Romeo and Juliet story brought to a comic conclusion into a steampunk variation on the theme of the Morlocks in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (q.v.). There are strong themes of mechanization in the underworld of the Boxtrolls and in the surface world, with the Boxtrolls rather gnome-like in their ability to work with industrial and domestic mechanical (and other) trash to make … things. Among other things they make — unwillingly, as captured slave labor — is an ungainly machine/vehicle for hostile use against them: a monstrous amalgam of Industrial Imperial Walker, the Mechanical Spider from WILD WILD WEST (1991)[2], and an old blast furnace. The villain rides this device to break through to the subterranean world of the Boxtrolls, where he terrorizes them (and soon tries to crush them in a huge box crusher) — and moves on to the upper world, where devices for exterminating Boxtrolls will be, initially, popular. BOXTROLLS is also a satiric work, usefully taking on Manichean divisions of conscious entities into absolute categories of good and evil, "white hats" and non-white hats," and usefully showing the destructive madness of hate-filled, fearful, conforming crowds ("Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds is sung, to rather odd effect, on the soundtrack over part of the credits).


DRAMA, RDE, 15/X/14