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  1. 9
    This 3D stop motion animated film is for children, although some parts of it might give the kids bad dreams, even though all's well that endsThis 3D stop motion animated film is for children, although some parts of it might give the kids bad dreams, even though all's well that ends well. The viewer is enticed by a richly dark vision of the streets of London circa late 1800's, when the townsfolk were undereducated, vulgar, and easily seduced by myths, superstitions, and local legends. There are well-defined class strata characterized by the aristocracy, who eat the finest cheese in the town of Cheesebridge and who wear white hats, and the working class shmegegges, who speak a thick brogue, are quick to initiate witch hunts, and wear the inferior red hats. At the center of their low-class hysteria is the knowledge that the town is infested with little monsterlike trolls who live in the sewers and who are said to snatch children and valuables; the trolls are purported to have once eaten an abducted baby. The little monsters have no clothes, and they hide their nakedness by wearing boxes around the midriff, taking their Christian names from whatever product appears on the box labels—hence, Fish, Oilcan, Wheels, and Shoe, among others. The boxes have a dual function because at any time they can hunker down and snap the lid closed in order to hide in plain sight, which they do whenever they feel threatened or scared. They speak a funny alien language understood by only one human, Eggs (Isaac Hampstead Wright), the baby they abducted but did not eat; in fact, they lovingly raised the child as their own, having abducted him only to rescue him from a malevolent force.

    Back in town the aristocratic mayor, Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), feels that the boxtrolls are vermin who have to be exterminated. The trolls are safe in their underground lair by day, but by night they emerge to rifle through garbage cans for interesting odds and ends that they use for a surprising purpose—they are in fact brilliant engineers. Their underground cavern has a ferris wheel, fantastic gadgets, and they have strung the roof of the cavern with light bulbs that mimic the stars in the night sky. The trolls are a loving community of harmless little imps, so ugly that they are almost cute. They snack on ladybugs, their favorite meal. But a menace is at work in the land of the humans, as the mayor enlists the help of a ruthless businessman named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) to use his mobile contraption to wipe out the trolls. It is a long and arduous process that goes on for almost ten years. As the troll population dwindles, Eggs turns 10 and begins to understand that he is different from the trolls, a human who tragically lost his parents as a baby. He becomes an advocate for his surrogate troll parents, and it is his destiny to save the trolls from extinction. In the process, he meets the mayor's daughter, who befriends him and supports his mission, little Winnie (Elle Fanning).

    Snatcher longs to trade in his red hat for a white hat, the equivalent of ditching his Honda Civic and buying a Ferrari, a goal he will attain if he wipes out all the boxtrolls. In Cheesebridge, another symbol of ultimate class is having the luxury of eating the finest cheese at cheese-tasting parties. The mayor spends many tax dollars on acquiring the world's best cheeses, even if it means canceling the plans for a children's hospital. Ironically, Snatcher aspires to this cheese-loving elite even though he is violently allergic to cheese, which causes his face to become dangerously swollen.

    Snatcher's henchmen are the ones who have to actually take the adorable monsters by surprise and capture them as the trolls sit helplessly shaking with terror in their little boxes. The trolls are as innocent and as playful as pups, and Snatcher's henchmen become vaguely aware of this dilemma as they continue their roundup. They have been convinced that the trolls are evil and that humans are good, and that it is for the good of human civilization that all trolls should be exterminated. In reality, Snatcher postpones killing the trolls and takes them back to his factory where he employs their engineering skills through forced labor, a bit like a concentration camp. The henchmen gradually become more and more uncomfortable with their reign of terror and their Gestapo tactics, as they begin to glean the true nature of the trolls, and it is up to Eggs to save the day.

    The children may end up having nightmares, nevertheless the film is an interesting child's morality play on the nature of good and evil, as well as a subtle commentary on racism, antisemitism, and intolerance.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 1, 2015
    2
    Before even beginning this review, I would like to state that I am a Christian, and this movie gives Christians a horrible name. That out ofBefore even beginning this review, I would like to state that I am a Christian, and this movie gives Christians a horrible name. That out of the way, God's Not Dead is a movie chock filled of stereotypes, labels, and overall horribly written characters (save one decent performance by Kevin Sorbo, and even that is arguable). Religious propaganda is bound left and right, with faulty logic brought on by the debate that the entire movie is based on, and just plainly by horrible story writing, Save yourself the trouble of watching what evolves into a pissing match between teacher and student and rent anything but. Full Review »
  3. 4
    Plodding at times. It just doesn't hang together. The acting is first rate, the writing is interesting but the pacing just goes along. WatchPlodding at times. It just doesn't hang together. The acting is first rate, the writing is interesting but the pacing just goes along. Watch on DVD so you can fast forward because it is more an character study... a morality play. Full Review »
  4. Feb 1, 2015
    5
    This film has even less of a plot than its predecessor, "The Trip," but you might enjoy the gorgeous Italian scenery (and gorgeous ItalianThis film has even less of a plot than its predecessor, "The Trip," but you might enjoy the gorgeous Italian scenery (and gorgeous Italian pasta) more than the moody moors of England (although I liked those). The guys' nimble wits and constant one-upmanship are fun again -- and there's even more on the "bonus" section of the DVD. (Brydon's conversation w/ a petrified Pompeian hit my funny bone.) Their musings about aging and death added a darker shading to this sequel ... but again, unfortunately, it really went nowhere. I'm hoping for a few new impersonations, and a bit more drama, if they reprise this again in a new locale. Full Review »
  5. Watched the movie in theaters the first week it came out. It made me want to read the comics. Aside from Spawn and Spiderman, I don't evenWatched the movie in theaters the first week it came out. It made me want to read the comics. Aside from Spawn and Spiderman, I don't even read comics. Full Review »

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