Parent note: This is a kid friendly review written in simpler language to help explain the movie to children. The purpose is to give a general idea of the movie to help children predict what is happening in the ‘big picture’ of the story. This review also provides some hints about the sensory and storyline content of the movie, as well as some helpful hints for older viewers.
The BoxTrolls – 2014
Eggs is a boy who was raised by BoxTrolls. The small trolls live in a large cavern under the city of Cheesebridge. They rescued Eggs as a baby and he grew up in their underground world, where all the trolls wear boxes as their clothing. Eggs thinks he is a BoxTroll and doesn’t know he is a boy.
The villain, Archibald Snatcher, wants to capture all of the BoxTrolls and has created a ‘lie’ that these trolls are dangerous creatures who are trying to kidnap the children of Cheesebridge. Eggs decides he can’t let Snatcher destroy his ‘troll family’ so he goes above ground and meets Winnie. Winnie is a feisty little girl who believes the BoxTrolls are bad, but Eggs helps her see differently.
They soon discover that Snatcher has been capturing trolls to help build his special machines. Snatcher wants to be an ‘important’ man of town. The important men wear white hats, and Snatcher is willing to do anything to earn the status of a White Hat, even if it means capturing innocent trolls or kidnapping children, himself.
When Snatcher catches Eggs, Eggs meets his long lost father. Everyone thought Eggs’ father was dead, but Snatcher has kept him prisoner for 10 years. Eggs escapes, with his father’s help, and they free the BoxTrolls from Snatcher.
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This movie has more of a ‘claymation’ look than digital animation, so it is visually a little different. There are a few fast scene shifts, but not a lot. The noises were not necessarily extreme in any case, unless it is in the very last quarter of the movie during the ‘battle’ scenes. There aren’t a lot of bright lights or flashes of light, since most of the movie either takes place underground or at night. It is also set in a Victorian-like era where things had a darker feel to them.
The story has a moderately complex storyline. The first 10-15 minutes has a great deal of nonverbal communication happening in it, especially since Eggs is only a baby and he’s trying to communicate with BoxTrolls who do not speak clear English. There main storyline is of Eggs and Winnie trying to stop Snatcher from destroying the BoxTrolls, but there are a few other storylines to note.
Snatcher is a very clear example of a ‘bad guy’ from day one. He ‘pretends’ to be nice, but he has many obvious traits that show him as a bad guy. This will be a good discussion topic about how he gives off clues to what he is truly feeling and thinking by his facial expressions, tones of voice, and actions.
Winnie and her Father – this is a very complex subplot and might cause some questions from kids. The father is not very kind throughout most of the movie because he is more interested in his own activities instead of her. It could lead to some good conversations about being too preoccupied with special interests. There is a very good conversation Winnie has with Eggs about what ‘fathers’ are supposed to be like and Eggs confusion when he meets her father – and her father doesn’t fit Winnie’s description.
Eggs and his Father – Eggs has no memory of his birth-father, but near the end of the movie he meets him again. His father’s interaction with him is positive.
Hints for Older kids:
- If you had to communicate with someone who didn’t speak your language, what could you do to get your point across?
- Winnie’s father doesn’t seem to be a nice guy. What are some things that he does that hurts Winnie’s feelings? What appears to be most important to Winnie’s father? What happens to near the end that makes her father show her he cares about her?
Kid-Sight: The BoxTrolls Movie Review
Pepper Basham, MS, CCC-SLP
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