The Boxtrolls follow the tale of goofy creatures clothed in cardboard boxes. They live underground in an English village. They're scavengers accused of kidnapping a human baby. The boy is Egg, and it is true, he lives with and is raised by them.
But the reason why is a mystery.
For the village's big heads, cheese is all that matters. They wear long, white hats, and Archibald Snatcher -- like the village cheeseheads -- is obsessed with the food and belonging to the upper echelon of society. He's promised a place among them if he can capturef the boxtrolls and rescue the boy. His campaign lasts a decade or so, and once The Boxtrolls really kicks into gear, the baby is now a boy. He's discovered by the daughter of the village head. She unites with him to save the Boxtrolls and claim victory from the evil Snatcher.
Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette and Tracy Morgan are among those playing the character voices.
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The stop-motion animation and the effects -- like other Laika produced movies -- are fabulous. Cute characters and clever scene design dot the landscape. However, sometimes producers lose sight of their targets. The Boxtrolls is loosely based on Alan Snow's novel Here Be Monsters. The novel is for the young among us but has attracted readers of all ages.
Traditionally, these movies are kid centric, so you have to assume that's the audience. The Boxtrolls is a terrific movie for kids at the start of the movie. However, as the movie drags toward the conclusion almost two hours later, the cardboard collapses. The movie has switched from a fun kid flick to a dull and slow film aimed at a bit older audience.
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Tracy Morgan, Jared Harris, Laraine Newman
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.
-- Check Mr. Movie's reviews at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie and let him know what you think.