In an animated landscape dominated by computer generated imagery that grows more impressive by the year, Laika Entertainment is a bit of an odd duck. Over the last several years they’ve carved out a critically lauded niche as stop motion animators of the highest quality, creating films that easily rival their competitors in terms of visual brilliance. Both Coraline and ParaNorman received Oscar nominations, and although trailers can never be trusted as a true gauge of quality, it’s hard to say at this point that their latest film, The Boxtrolls, isn’t headed towards more of the same. We’ve gotten little tastes of the movie over the last several months, but this week we got our first major dose of plot with the film’s debut theatrical trailer.
The premise follows the feral child archetype, similar to Mowgli in The Jungle Book or Tarzan. Replacing the more popular assortment of wolves, bears, and apes, however, are a set of gremlin-type characters called Boxtrolls, a race of misunderstood nocturnal lurkers who “transform treasures into incredible inventions.” Perhaps reflecting the hands-on nature of the film’s creators, the Boxtrolls turn trash into treasure, but accidentally terrify the local (human) townsfolk in the process. Eggs, voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran in Game of Thrones), is the human boy who grew up among the Boxtrolls before being discovered by Winnie (Elle Fanning) and gradually reintroduced to society.
Narratively and thematically, it would appear the movie covers some familiar territory, as Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) wants to rid the town of Boxtrolls, while Eggs and Winnie must convince the town to live in harmony with their cohabitants. That doesn’t stop the trailer from being visually gorgeous and delightfully humorous, though.
The voice cast is rounded out by an impressive Brit-heavy lineup of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jared Harris, Richard Ayaode, Toni Collette, and Tracy Morgan. The Boxtrolls is set to hit theaters on September 26.