We started our first weekend of the month taking our two youngest to see BoxTrolls.
Review by Tres
Let me say that I went in to the movie just looking to get away from the craziness of the job and extra paperwork and planning that has come with teaching this year. It is a Claymation film, and some of those just do not grab my attention. I didn’t know what to expect, other than a few lines that my youngest two kept throwing out around the house that they had seen on commercials and trailers.
I can tell you this is a delightful film and one that I am truly glad that we got away to see.
The premise of the movie is that a city called Cheesebridge with a group of lofty rulers that have a focus on things that are not as pertinent to the people of the city as it is to their stomachs: cheese.
Archibald Snatcher (played by Ben Kingsley) has come forward to be the savior of the city from a most deadly creature: the boxtroll.
He tells the tale of the boxtrolls that live under Cheesebridge and come out at night to steal children to eat. He has been protecting the city for 10 years; ever since the last child, the Trubshaw baby, was taken.
From the beginning of the movie you see the trolls wandering the streets in some rather eerie scenes, which quickly become more light-hearted. Never do you see the trolls harm a person, enter a person’s home, or hurt anyone. They simply scrounge around for metal items, gadgets, and things to build with. You get to know many of the Trolls, each with their own name. Their name is the picture of the item on their box.
Did Eggs catch your eye? Ah yes, Eggs isn’t a troll; he just thinks he is. When his family members go missing a few at a time with Mr. Snatcher out there, well, snatching them, he decides to do something about it. The trolls, do what they do best, they go inside of their boxes and hide.
There are some great lessons in this movie. The white hats can only focus on their hats and on cheese. The town needs repair and services. The white hats have duties owed the people. However, there is cheese to be eaten. The cheese even ranked higher that their children. It’s the same story as the Pharisees and the Scribes and how they were so focused on “their” thing and “their” position and “their” stature, that they lost focus on what was truly important; God. [Matthew 23:23-25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel! 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess.]
Another aspect of the story is the judging of someone by the way they look or by a group/race that they belong to. It’s crazy to me that bigotry still exists in this world today. People will try to take the Old Testament scriptures and show how Moses was supposed to keep the Israelites away from others and Joshua was supposed to keep the Israelites away from others. God had a lineage and a plan for that lineage. It didn’t mean that he was prejudice. It didn’t mean that he was giving man a right to be prejudice. The town’s people judge the boxtrolls. The red hats judge the town’s people. The white hats judge everyone.
We are all accepted and loved in the eyes of God. [John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.]
“The world” not “a people”
However, when we dig even deeper, we see that it is not just because the trolls were from a different group, but because of a rumor that was spread without any evidence that supported it. The entire town followed a lie, believed the lie, and had fear and hate in their heart without any cause at all. We are warned in James 4 about listening to false tales and judging. [James 4:10-12(NIV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?]
Is it a new story? No. We have had this type of story told to us many times over in many films, plays, books, etc. It is a human story though. When you step back from the creative processes, when you get away from the characters, when you step back from it all it’s about the man and our tendencies to be drawn away so easily. Often times it takes one person to stand up for what is right, for what is true. Eggs knows what is being said is a lie and he does something about it only to be ignored and reprimanded.
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes told the people of Israel a great many things that were contrary to God. Jesus chose to stand against it. He was ignored and reprimanded by a great many. A few listened though, and because of that, people began to see the true heart of God. Because Jesus brought love and salvation to the world we see God’s love today.
If you have children, I would recommend this. There were a few small scenes that were a little darker than I first anticipated, but they we few and small. I laughed throughout the film. My wife laughed throughout the film. The best part was hearing my children laugh throughout the film and their “Ah Ha” moments as they began to connect messages throughout the movie. For me, this movie was well-worth the money.
Usually I would give children’s movies, especially Claymation a 4 at the highest. However, none of the Claymation expressions or antics seemed over the top in this film to me, the even balance of good clean humor for children and adults, and the multiple messages that you can glean from this movie for me pushes it to a 5.
Honestly, I’d go see it again today.
There’s only two cautions that I do have… there is one scene where you see troll butts and Snatchers demise, though not shown… yuck.