‘The Boxtrolls’ is the new stop-motion animation by offbeat US studio Laika, the makers of award-winning films like ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman’.
Loosely adapted from Alan Snow’s children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’, it tells the story of a young orphaned boy raised by underground trash collectors, who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.
“There’s this sort of heightened realism that you get from the puppets because they’re really tangible things and I think that when you watch a stop-motion movie, you feel that these sets really exist and these puppets are really there and you can touch them and it’s real fabric – not real skin but real silicone and stuff – and so there’s something about that. Every kid has a memory of playing with dolls or a model train set and stuff, so in a funny way, it’s that heightened reality,” says co-director Graham Annable.
Animators infused the age-old art of stop-motion with cutting-edge technology including 3D printing to bring their characters to life.
“Once the faces are designed we start coming up with their expressions that are made from these 3D rapid prototype printers, where these are actually printed, almost like a Xerox machine except they end up printing these 3D objects with magnets on the background with little minute changes to the expression. And they’re then put on and replaced and then when you shoot it, every frame appears like the characters are talking or emoting,” said Graham Annable.
The film has opened to mixed reviews, with one critic describing it as "an exquisitely animated film", while another accuses it of "squandering Laika's considerable artistic talent on an unappealing concept and screenplay".
‘The Boxtrolls’ is out now.