Warning: If you love ladybugs, this movie will definitely disturb you. And now for something completely different, this is a bit of an homage to Monty Python, heavily influenced by the cheese shop routine and a nod to the ‘wafer-thin’ bit in The Meaning of Life. With a vague steampunk vibe, a nightmarish Moulin Rouge cross-dresser and a little girl obsessed with the macabre, this is a strangely enjoyable film but it would have scared me to death as a child. The Boxtrolls live beneath the streets of the somewhat asininely named town of Cheesebridge and emerge at night to relieve the residents of anything they find interesting, generally from within rubbish bins and usually of a mechanical nature. Their underground home looks like a steampunk Amazon order fulfillment center and is absolutely full of gadgetry. This movie has a lot of fun playing with the concepts of good and evil, particularly highlighted by the oddly philosophical musings of the villain’s loathsome minions as they go about their dirty work. There are some obvious reversals of traditional values (“People are just mean and selfish. They’re monsters.”) as well as some rather scathing commentary on greed, obsession with social status, parental neglect and what’s really important in life (“Cheese, hats, boxes, they don’t make you. You make you.”). So don’t judge a book by its cover and one man’s trash is a boxtroll’s treasure, but the lofty ideals are illustrated in some very obscure and definitely unorthodox ways. A bit wonky and more than a smidgen gross (the leeches! Severe lactose intolerance!), think of this as a British fable on acid and adjust your expectations accordingly. This has the creepiness factor of Tim Burton mixed with the bizarre fantasy of Roald Dahl and perhaps the reason it didn’t clean up at the box office is because while it is apparently a children’s tale, it’s illusory nature is really going to appeal to a more mature crowd. – BETHANY
For more on this deliciously twisted movie, visit the Internet Movie Database
Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris)
The loathsome minions
Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his adoptive family.
Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley)
Images from The Ball:
Photos courtesy of Laika studios and Focus Features