Parent reviews for The Boxtrolls

Common Sense says

Imaginative adventure has lots of peril, nasty villain.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 37 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 22 reviews
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bysteffiNY October 13, 2014

Disappointing at best...grotesque, scary and very very dark

I am a little annoyed at myself because I usually check and double check the reviews here before I go to see a movie with my girls, but for this one we went in blind. We were really looking forward to go because the trailers made it look magical and fun. It was neither. Although the animation is great and the story itself a good one it is totally overshadowed by the grotesqueness of the villains. Scenes are violent, torturous, and down right gross...It is almost suffocating how dark the film is. There really are no uplifting parts at all. we were all relieved when the end of the movie finally arrived (we should have left but again, I don't know why we didn't). Again, my own problem for not checking the very reliable reviews on this website. Thanks to all the parents that write reviews...it really does help when you need a little heads up.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byParent 1 October 5, 2014

Nightmares... BIG TIME

My poor 7 year old was really freaked out by this movie. She hated the part when the villain exploded, and parts of him went flying everywhere. There are many other gross scenes in "The Boxtrolls" that even had my 10 year old scared. In the end, nightmares for everyone.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byPattipal4 October 13, 2014

Grotesque, dark, frightening

This movie has never ending disturbing images, such as a character vomiting cheese and a beetle (that he has also eaten), then re-eating the vomited food and bug. Every minute is filled with these disgusting, ugly scenes and characters that any story that might be told is unrecognizable. Ugly characters with no redeeming qualities or merit. It's a disgusting film. Do not take your children unless you want them to become ill and have nightmares.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byMamaBearNJ October 10, 2014

If it weren't for the allergy stuff, this would be a 4

I had high hopes for this movie because I found ParaNorman such a positive, uplifting, warmhearteed movie (yes, despite the horror elements & creepy-crawlies) about the power of forgiveness, the importance of accepting people who are different, and the joy of bridging your differences & finding common ground. Parts of the Boxtrolls are just great. I love the boxtrolls' underground lair where they build fantastic inventions (very Steampunk!). I love the warm quasi-parental relationship between the human boy Eggs and his adoptive father, the boxtroll Fish. The adventurous heroine who discovers Eggs and challenges the town to change its views of Boxtrolls was fun, too. But as the parent of a kid with a dangerous food allergy, I could not enjoy a movie where a villain's food allergy is exploited for gross-out thrills. Yeah, food allergies can be gross. People do swell up with food allergies, sometimes to grotesque extent. You know what else sometimes happens that isn't so funny? They sometimes die. I'm not saying that every character with an allergy has to be a wonderful heroic character (like the newscaster in "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"), but I think that in the same way that cartoons will give a villain a big nose or double chin, as though looking like that made you a villain & it's OK to hate people who look like that, this cartoon used the food allergy as part of the villain's grotesqueness in a way that seems to make it OK to hate people with food allergies. And that was WAY more disturbing than just one more gross-out scene. Coming from the producers of ParaNorman, this was horribly disappointing. I expected better from them.
Parent of a 8 and 13-year-old Written byjaemama October 5, 2014

Dark, disturbing, nightmarish bad-guy, torture-scenes, etc.

Don't bother going to see this movie. This movie was advertised as "Fun for the whole family" and yet there is nothing fun or happy about it. In fact, there was absolutely no laughter in the theater. The bad guy is very grotesque, dark, and evil. Relational and physical aggression was very high in this movie and there were even torture scenes. This movie is another example of how things that are marketed to children, are not really appropriate for them, but someone gets to make a pretty penny off selling fear and violence.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byB-KMastah October 4, 2014

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 Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 8-year-old Written bybunnie911 September 28, 2014

No ponies, rainbows, or butterflies here

The movie was dark and the bad guys were truly ugly. My daughter was scared much of the movie. There were several points where we are left to believe that many of the good guys (the trolls and the inventor) had died. It is resolved positively at the end, but that did not console my daughter who constantly asked me if the trolls were all dead.
Parent Written byLinVA September 27, 2014

Weird, scary, choppy story

This is one weird movie. When the characters talk about the "duality of good and evil in people" in the first few minutes, you know you're in trouble. The main character, Eggs, almost burns in a big fire, so if the Toy Story 3 fire bothered your kids, so will this. The villain explodes and dies, and it is from a cheese allergy. The dad hangs upside down for 10 years. I still don't know what the villain was trying to build, or at least why he was trying to build it. There's a reason they released this film in a slow time of the year. I don't think the "positive messages" are worth it.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bykchotchin September 26, 2014

Not as good as I was expecting

For the first 20 minutes, the Boxtrolls are seen as cute and lovable from their adorable baby-like language, to the way we see them caring for 'Eggs'. Even their pilfering isn't portrayed as 'wrong'.
After 20 minutes we meet the 'human' characters and this is where the film changed significantly for me. There are few likable 'humans'. All of the others are either a spoiled brat, a self-centered father or a completely despicable villain (who made even me feel uncomfortable, especially when his face ballooned as an allergic faction to cheese).
My children, ages 6 and 4, became more and more uncomfortable when the villain was on screen, and unlike other 'cartoon' villains, there were no redeeming qualities to his character, or funny situations (unless you find the allergic reaction humorous). He was just vile, every time he appeared on screen.
My 6 year old could not quite grasp the villain's desire to be one of the 'White Hats' nor his reason to 'kill' for a white hat.
My 4 year old just wanted to go home - but he could have said this through boredom rather than fear, or discomfort.

Ultimately, this film did not redeem itself with a happy ending, even though it had one. It was a long-time coming. Just when I thought, "phew, it's over", it wasn't, quite.

The best bit, for me, was after the credits when they revealed a little of the secrets of stop-motion animation, but even this was over the heads of most children.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byTeachLove142 October 27, 2019

Cross dressing Villain!

The main villain also cross dresses as a grotesque woman and all of the characters vie for “her” attention through the whole movie and towards the end they find out the “she” was a “he” all along. One of the characters says “I regret so many things”. The movie has pretty visually disgusting characters and is overall scary, but to me more than anything the cross dressing part needs to be forewarned to parents! Do you want to discuss that with your kids today?

Any mention of a cross dresser in a kids movie is “too much sex” in my opinion. (Sexual connotations)

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Adult Written byRclopez2012 June 23, 2018

My 6 year old loved it

If your kids liked Coraline and Nightmare before Christmas and Hotel Transylvania, they'll enjoy this film. Sure, it was a bit creepy but that's the point people! Its okay to show kids plots that aren't Dora. They'll be okay. Reminds me of the films I watched as a kid in the eighties. Doesn't talk down to kids. Doesn't shy away from a bit scary but my daughter was glued to the screen. Appeals and encourages wild imagination. My daughter made her stuffies into boxtrolls. They seem grotesque but are lveable and sweet. It has a kind mmessage. The bad guys struggle with right and wrong and learn what is right. Come on how great is that? Cute film. Cute story.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 10 and 12-year-old Written byHendo H. U December 28, 2017

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Written byAnonymous March 31, 2017

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Consumerism
Parent of a 2, 6, and 6-year-old Written byKristie L. September 2, 2016

It would have been a great movie without the villain

The villain is downright disgusting, creepy, and horrifying at moments. He dresses like a woman at times and definitely has some gender issues. There is a moment when he eats a piece of cheese (which he is morbidly obsessed with) and has an allergic reaction where he becomes bloated and even more disgusting looking to the point that it almost made me run to the bathroom to vomit. It was terrible. This is NOT a movie me or my children will ever watch again. I give it two stars because the box trolls are nice and the animation is painstaking. The story would have been great (and easier to produce) had they simply left out the disgusting, gender confused villain.

This title contains:

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent of a 10 and 16-year-old Written byWife-mother-law... July 16, 2016

Parental Guidance Suggested – some material may not be suitable for children.

This is an quirky movie that really does have material not suitable for children - just as a PG rating suggests. There is such an unmet desire for quality movies for kids that we often take our 6 to tweens to PG movies only to be disappointed when they are, in fact, not suitable. Our 10 year old thought it was pretty creepy and while it was (just) ok for him, I am relieved that we did not see it when it first came out.
Adult Written byECCMom January 15, 2016

Great lessons

This movie is great. The Box Trolls are the good guys. It shows how dangerous misconception is. This movie also reinforces how it's important to be how you are and that titles and material possessions are not what makes a person (white hats). Mr. Snatcher is a little scary, but he is also funny. Tell me what villain is not a little scary.... Malificent, Cruella de Vil, etc.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bypaigek1 May 30, 2015

Terribly sweet

I feel sorry for those that think this so dark. My family loved this movie. Id rather my 4 yr. old watch box trolls than frozen, which i find far more violent (which is odddly rated at 5yrs.) Most importantly know your kid and what is appropriate for them, not their age.
Parent of a 3, 5, and 8-year-old Written bylewisr1 May 30, 2015

If your kids like quirky then they'll love this

Due to the many reviews suggesting this movie is scary, I watched it first with just my 8 year old. I prefaced it by saying there might be scary parts. She then proceeded to watch the whole movie, asking over and over when were the scary parts. ;-) After that I had no issues watching this with my 5yo and 3yo. Neither had any issues with being scared.

But I will say this. Be wary if this is your child's first exposure to claymation. It can be frightening to younger kids (<6) that aren't familiar with this style. Claymation has a look that can make what's happening seem more real and therefore scarier. If your kids have seen and liked other movies that feature this style, then that shouldn't be an issue (eg. Nightmare Before Christmas, Wallace and Gromit).

This is a movie that rewards repeat viewings. There is a lot going on here and not every plot point is obvious the first time. However, the first time will definitely entice you to watch it again and again, because there is plenty to enjoy. The boxtrolls play and fight with a lot of humor. The theme of personal transformation may be too subtle for most kids, but the idea of helping others who are treated unfairly is easy to grasp.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byclewis96 February 26, 2015

Why do they push this on our kids

I've always liked the clay-mation and this type of film making - I think that it takes a lot of talent to make this happen. And with saying that I don't know why adults make movies marketed for kids, and dish out homosexual, a-sexual, or what ever sexual content onto the kids (song at the end of the movie). Note: Why would you have the main villain as a cross dresser that only an adult could hash out... stop it... let the choice of presenting these social political positions up to the parents or at the least provide us with a version of the movie where I don't have to stop and start it to get around those sense... "Johnny I don't know what happened to the CD... must be a smudge?" Eating my face off -I made a mistake getting this one a couple of years too soon...

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byjazmint February 20, 2015

We Walked out the theater

It was a bore and it was terrible we even walked out the movie theater i would reccommend to go see something like Big Hero 6 instead.

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