WIMAGF: The Boxtrolls
Expected Release Date: September 26, 2014
Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Based on: Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, published 2006
Overview: The book involves a fallen industrial heir plotting to regain control of the town of Ratbridge. The film, however, does not use the plot of the book, and instead (generally) is about one man’s plot to eliminate the boxtrolls, a race of handy creatures clad in boxes that live underground and collect junk, and a boy’s efforts to foil that plot.
Working in its favor: Everything. It’s stop motion animation, it takes the most lovable and charming creature from the book and focuses on that while dropping a plot that would be difficult to adapt to the screen due to quite a lot of cheese, women with very large boxy buttocks, and a large shrink ray, and Simon Pegg, possessor of one of the greatest voices I’m aware of, is voicing one of the characters.
Potential issues: They’d have to do quite a lot wrong in order to mess this one up. What I loved about the book is that it captured a child’s imagination. Not just that – it put you inside a child’s imagination, so that you almost feel like a child again. It’s weird, it’s absurd, it’s full of nonsense, and it’s the closest thing to Roald Dahl I’ve encountered since Roald Dahl. If the film loses the imaginative absurdity of the book, it will fall flat. I doubt Laika will let that happen, however.
Wild card(s): The plot. As I said, this film takes the most charming and lovable creature from the book, and builds a story around their possible extermination. It seems like the plot is fairly straightforward, allowing for comic moments and good fun, but there’s always some risk in departing from the author’s words.
Verdict – WIMAGF?: Absolutely. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my shirt (I won’t eat my shirt)–but I doubt I’m wrong.