When it comes to animated movies, it’s easy to forget that there are other studios making them besides for the big trinity of Dreamworks Animation, Disney and Pixar. Blue Sky Studios also has a horse in the race, and when I say horse, I actually mean prehistoric squirrel chasing an acorn. Laika may not be as much of a household name as any of these big boys, but with movies like Coraline and Paranorman under their belt, it boggles my mind that they aren’t.
Now they’re back with a new film… all about trolls living in boxes…or trolls made out of boxes. It’s all a bit weird.
The new 3D animated feature from Laika Studios tells the tale of the Boxtrolls, monsters who live underneath the charming streets of Cheesebridge, who crawl out of the sewers at night to steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend the townspeople have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are a community of lovable oddballs who are raising as one of their own an abandoned and orphaned human boy named Eggs. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous exterminator who is bent on eradicating them, Eggs must venture aboveground to save them, where he teams with an adventurous young girl to save not only the Boxtrolls but the soul of Cheesebridge.
While that barely shows us anything from the actual film – it is a teaser trailer after all – I already love the design aesthetic. And then there’s that voice cast: newcomer Isaac Hempstead-Wright finds himself in the company of Ben Kingsley, , Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Toni Collette, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan and Simon Pegg. Wowzer indeed.
Also, I know it’s handled very matter-of-factly in the clip, but this may just be the first mainstream animated movie that features same-sex parents. This is something that didn’t escape the attentions of THR – especially as this has been an incredibly eventful week for gay rights in the USA – who spoke to Laika CEO and President Travis Knight who explained that it was just a fortunate coincidence.
“We’re not in any way trying to be activists. We’re just trying to be who we are. All art and all artists have a point of view, a way of looking at the world. We want to make films that are bold and distinctive and enduring and actually have something meaningful to say.
There are going to be people who simply don’t agree with that and we understand, but we also won’t flinch from the consequences of that. The kinds of films we make have to be consistent with our values and how we look at the world and sometimes that means putting yourselves out there a little bit.”
“…The Boxtrolls are a very loving community that have been marginalized by the lies and distortions of others. It doesn’t take someone who’s got a PhD to recognize that of course there are metaphoric elements to the message in our movie.”
The Boxtrolls will be crawling out from underground on September 26, 2014.
Last Updated: July 4, 2013