This film is like running through a mud puddle. At first it's kind of strange and weird. Then you settle in and really like the feeling of squeezing the mud through the toes. Then you don't mind getting a little mud above the ankles and a little dirt on the face.
It's great fun.
The unique, economical story and the grotesquely appealing design of this movie makes me really enjoy it. I learned so much from studying Mr. Snatcher for my storyboard studies. What an amazing, gross, delightful villain! His face is multicolored and nasty looking – then it's pushed further when he gets an allergic reaction to the cheese! UGH!
Seriously. He's scary.
One of the things that I love about the movie's design is the wonderfully wobbly line in everything. Nothing is really truly straight. The cages, doors, buildings, top hats... all wobbly!
That same irregular quality was also in the ending credits sequence, which is just as beautiful.
Then there's the economical story. I call it economical because there were a lot of things that could have been added but weren't. From watching the behind-the-scenes and listening to some of the decisions made, the story men of the film worked really hard to make sure everything served the story. If it didn't, it was cut.
The major theme is 'you make what you are', and then there's a supporting theme involving fathers. It amazes me how similar Mr. Snatcher and Lord Portly-Rind are. They both have a selfish obsession with identity. In order for the audience to focus on this obsession (as it is the basis of the villain's escalated conflict), I noticed that the concept of 'mothers' was nearly left out of the film. In one scene, we meet Winnie's mother, who seems to care more about fashion than anything else.
Winnie's mother actually had more sequences, they were boarded and the voice recorded, but the decision was made to cut most it out of the movie. I think it was a good decision and I'm sure it wasn't easy. Having a mother character would have muddied up the supporting theme of who fathers were and what they did. We would have found ourselves asking "What about mothers?"
Again, Laika's stop motion animation blows me away every. single. time. It is amazing. The dedication of hundreds of people to create a masterpiece always inspires me. They never shy away from different camera angles or difficult lighting situations or impossibly hard puppetry. I can't wait to see what the studio does next... *cough* Kubo and the Two Strings *cough*
Thanks for reading, friends! Do you have any favorite parts in The Boxtrolls? Comment below!