LAIKA is the animation company that is keeping stop motion films alive. With the brilliantly creepy tales of Coraline and Paranorman, they’ve brought us The Boxtrolls. I wasn’t to impressed by the trailers, but at this point, I put all of my trust in Laika to make a good film, and all I’ve got to say is, ‘Really, Laika? I expected more from you.’
The movie is clearly taking the old, ‘humans are the real monsters’ thing that’s been done in a bunch of movies before and taking it up to eleven. I think it might have worked, but because the filmmakers exaggerate all of the adult human characters, they end up feeling too much like caricatures and not like real people. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if this were BlueSky, but Laika? Seriously.
This really becomes an issue when you compare the villains in the Laika films. Coraline‘s Other Mother is a terrifying villain that is amplified by a phenomenal vocal performance by Teri Hatcher. ParaNorman‘s Agatha is a really well developed character, and the scene with Norman confronting her is a really heart wrenching scene.
The villain in this movie is neither scary nor well developed. He’s more of a humorous villain who kinda looks like Timothy Spall but was actually voiced by Ben Kingsley. And again, if this were a lesser animated studio, that would be acceptable. But… Laika.
Now let me make one thing perfectly clear… The animation in this movie is wonderful. Laika has really perfected what can be done with stop-motion animation, and the production design is magnificent as ever. I think that the script does have a few clever ideas, but overall, this isn’t a movie that I plan to be returning to any time soon.