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"The Boxtrolls": Stop-Motion Improves with a Tale of Subterranean Childhood 

Tuesday, Sep 23 2014
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Though it has some story issues, Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi's The Boxtrolls is a technical marvel, a traditional stop-motion animation film that uses modern technology to augment the original craft, not replace it. In the Victorian-era town of Cheesebridge, young Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is an orphan raised by the kindly Boxtrolls, subterranean scavengers who wear boxes for clothes and speak in Minion-esque gibberish. He grows up believing he's a Boxtroll (and speaking the Queen's English in spite of never having been immersed in it), only to discover that his adoptive family is the subject of a pogrom by the humans, particularly the stringy-haired Archibald (Ben Kingsley). Eggs is a typically bland hero, particularly compared to his scene-stealing new human friend Winnie (Elle Fanning), possibly the first non-Disney addition to the Spunky Redheaded Princess canon. Unfortunately, she's the only female character of note, particularly in light of the subplot involving cabaret singer Miss Frou Frou, who ... well, it's the kind of thing that's a staple of British comedy, but still a distasteful gag that almost derails the film's goodwill. Other than that bum note, The Boxtrolls is beautiful to look at and frequently very witty, and it also features one of the few ending-credit Easter Eggs in recent memory that justifies its own existence.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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