I’ve been a fan of Laika and their films ever since watching the creepy but awesome Coraline. I’m glad Shout Factory is releasing all of their films and cleaning them up slightly and tossing in some new extras. The first two to come along are Coraline and this film, The Boxtrolls. If you and your family enjoys creepy family fun films, then you’ll want to hop in this box of fun.
Things kick off when our main character Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is taken in as an orphan by the Boxtrolls, a bunch of weird but loveable creatures who live underground beneath the city of Cheesebridge. All they want to do is live in peace while occasionally taking some human trinkets and items back to their underground city. Of course trouble comes along years later with Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) who is looking to get rid of the boxtrolls, permanently which will grant him a place in high society.
While this is going on, Eggs who is now nearly a teenager goes above ground one day and comes across a young girl named Winnifred (Elle Fanning). As the two become friends, Eggs’ boxtroll family is captured by Snatcher, and it’s up to him and Winnifred to save them and put Snatcher in place away from the higher-ups in society.
I found myself enjoying this movie as though I were watching it for the first time since it’s been some time since I last saw it. Laika has perfected the art of creepy but fun family films and this one is no different. The visuals have been improved a smidge thanks to using a higher bitrate than the previous Blu-ray release, and look great for a standard Blu-ray (here’s hoping for a 4K release one day). The Dolby audio from the previous release returns and still sounds great as well.
The extras are pretty good as well, started with audio commentary by directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi who go into the production of the film while sharing some cool anecdotes along the way. The new extras start with “Inside LAIKA: Discovering the Characters of The Boxtrolls” goes into the different characters from the film, how the studio came up with so many of them and the various backdrops while also sharing early animation demonstration videos and more.
The other new extra, “Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team” has the team behind the puppets bring out some of the ones they used in the film and show off how they did some of the parts and such. There’s also “Feature-Length Storyboards” that play along with the film’s audio to show how they shot each part loads of behind the scenes featurettes, and more.
Those looking for an odd but great film for family night can’t go wrong with The Boxtrolls. It’s a zany movie that’s a good time for anyone. Toss in some sweet new extras and touched up bitrate for better visuals, and you have a box full of fun you’ll want to dive into again and again.