The Boxtrolls. 2014. USA. Directed by Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi. 96 min.
With the voices of Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette. Based on the novel Here Be Monsters, by Alan Snow, and animated on three and a half acres of stop-motion sets, this comic fantasy follows an orphaned boy, raised by a race of underground trash collectors, who saves the creatures from self-centered city-dwellers and a megalomaniac pest exterminator above ground. Although it flirts with environmental and social justice issues, the film is an amusement park of gizmos, narrow escapes, and grotesque transformations played out on expressionistic streets and in cavernous hideouts. Stay seated to the end of the closing credits for some existential slight-of-hand celebrating the Laika studio’s mastery of character and form. 100 min.