It’s hard to predict where the company that brought about some of the creepiest, coolest stop-motion in our generation is going to veer next. Laika’s upcoming The BoxTrolls has left a tantalizingly twisted taste thus far, but this newest peek gives a whole lot more insight into what we are in for plot and character wise. From Coraline to The Nightmare Before Christmas, there is something inarguably fitting about making stop-motion animation somewhat dark and hot-topic-y, but so far it looks like this newest venture may offer more in the way of character development and story than meets the black outlined eye.
Director Anthony Stacchi referred to the aesthetic of the film as “steampunk, Victorian, Monty Python,” but with an edginess that is not supposed to be necessarily reminiscent of Laika’s earlier works Coraline and ParaNorman. Although the film appears as dark in design, there is a more accessible quality visible in the newest trailer when compared to the otherworldly predecessors. With the introduction of the main human characters, Eggs and Winnie, along with the depiction of the trolls as unfortunate societal rejects, a charm appears that I was not quite expecting.
Sure, trolls may be “fictional,” but the vibe of The BoxTrolls is still not as far out and even unsettling (so far) as an alternate universe where parents eyes are buttons or even in the idea of a child being able to see the dead all around him. The BoxTrolls are misunderstood creatures—a fairly classic tale of justice for a group of misfits. What they’ve done so far to set up interest in this film has worked for me. I appreciate their craftsmanship and now their storytelling as well.