Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Boxtrolls

I really like it when trailers don't give away the entire plot of a film. It's something that's becoming less and less common; movie trailers now, on average, are around two and a half minutes in length and usually give away the funniest lines, coolest moments, and main plot points of a film. It's annoying. Which is why I find it so refreshing when I find a trailer that manages to pique my interest while simultaneously not really giving me anything to work with.

Case in point with one of the trailers going around for the new stop-motion animated movie The Boxtrolls. 75% of the trailer is basically a "making of" video; giant hands sculpt tiny details onto clay faces, animators walk through the small-scale cities that they've made, things like that. It's insightful, and a way to show audiences the faces of characters that they'll be seeing in the film without giving anything away. You see some of the finished product at the end of the trailer, but only the animation; nothing about the story is revealed.

I thought that this was a great marketing tactic. It succeeded, at least, in getting me to do a little research on the film to learn a bit more about it. The Boxtrolls is based off of the 2005 children's book Here Be Monsters!, which was written and illustrated by Alan Snow. The plot summary, in one sentence via IMDB, is this: a young orphaned boy, raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors, tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Ok, now you've really got my attention.

The company behind the film (Laika, which - fun fact - is based in Portland Oregon and run by Travis Knight, the son of the co-founder of Nike) is the same company behind Coraline and ParaNorman, two really great - and kind of creepy - stop motion films. One of the directors, Graham Annable, has worked as a story artist on ParaNorman and - curve ball - as a clean up artist for The Goofy Movie. The other director, Anthony Stacchi, also directed Open Season, and worked in the VFX department of Antz and James and the Giant Peach.

With a cast that includes Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, and Simon Pegg, I'm gonna go out of my way and say that this will be one of the best animated movies of 2014. You heard it here first.

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