A little shaky, but creative, cute, and funny.
This is most definitely a Laika film, just toned down a bit in terms of how hard its humor hits and how strong its themes are. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it's uneven. However, it's as inventive and visually pleasing as one would expect and the voice cast is terrific, namely Nick Frost as a silly yet somewhat smart henchman, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright as the lead. The movie seems to be broken up into a pretty good first act, a great second act, and a good third act. While it starts off shaky, it's still funny and visually appealing. The second act, however, spikes up as the plot develops and underlying themes start to arise, and the visual style becomes even better with more complex and admirable animation and more interesting color palettes. The third act falls off a little bit, but not enough to not be considered solid. While I'm happy that the film constantly stayed above average, its slightly varying quality levels show that the script could have gone through another draft. The humor is very good and I laughed out loud several times, whether it was due to puns or unexpectedly meta statements made by secondary characters (Nick Frost is terrific here), but some was also because the style seems too dark for PG-rated fare. There's a fair share of grotesque humor, but it stays oddly delightful because its animation in addition to the tone of the film. It does get rather dark, though, and surprisingly so. The antagonist is genocidal, and there seem to be parallels between the boxtrolls and Jews in World War II; the villain even performs a propaganda play which I thought was interesting, if a little transgressive going by what's normally expected of a "children's film." The 3D is okay, and while it isn't as immersive as ParaNorman, it gives a pretty good sense of depth in some scenes. This isn't an amazing Laika film, and I don't know that I'd even call it great, but it is funny and entertaining, and different. While ParaNorman should have won the Oscar for Best Picture in my eyes, this is a movie that I'm glad I saw and could recommend to others, but given how many "meh" the average films are out there, it's still a good thing to say. 7.7/10, good, one thumb up, above average, etc.
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness