The Boxtrolls Voices of Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning. Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi. Rated PG. Opens Friday.
The third film from stop-motion animation studio Laika, The Boxtrolls isn’t quite as affecting or idiosyncratic as the studio’s first two (Coraline and ParaNorman), but it’s still entertaining and inventive, further proof that Laika is the Pixar of stop-motion. The title characters, trolls who wear cardboard boxes like turtle shells, are actually quite friendly and cute, but a diabolical exterminator (voiced by Ben Kingsley) wants to eradicate them from the quaint city of Cheesebridge. Only the boy known as Eggs (Game of Thrones’ Isaac Hempstead Wright), raised by boxtrolls, can prove that his friends aren’t dangerous monsters.
It’s a simple story delivered with maximum attention to detail (some of it endearingly grotesque) and plenty of droll, dry humor, although the pacing can be a little uneven (one major character shows up rather late in the story). Once again, Laika turns the potentially creepy and unsettling into lively, good-natured fun.