For all the grousing about the homogenization of modern moviemaking, there is one sector of the industry where one can (paradoxically) find the spirit of innovation alive and well: children’s films. Yes, this is a sector flooded by vapid toy tie-ins – but it’s also a subgenre that’s recently seen examples of metafictional provocation, humanist high fantasy, and ambitious horror-comedy.
Along those lines, production studio Laika has made a habit of family-friendly films that push the boundaries of both technical wizardry and narrative content (Coraline and ParaNorman). Their next project, The Boxtrolls, looks to be just as ambitious and beautiful as its predecessors – something borne out by its newest trailer, viewable above.
This latest preview of The Boxtrolls eschews technical details and whimsical world-building for a more straightforward sort of trailer, giving audiences a clear view of the movie’s setting, characters, and overall narrative framework. Here we see much more about the quasi-Victorian town of Cheesebridge, the society of scavenger trolls that live beneath its streets, and the adopted human boy who could help bridge the two worlds.
Despite complaining about the lack of narrative meat in previous trailers, it’s almost a let-down for The Boxtrolls to release a standard-issue preview. Nonetheless, the movie continues to look gorgeous, with fluid and creatively arranged animation that belies its stop-motion roots. Laika has a made a name for itself as the premiere practitioner of an artform long since gone out of style. Here’s to hoping that The Boxtrolls allows them to continue doing so, for decades to come.
The Boxtrolls is directed by Graham Annable (ParaNorman) and Anthony Stacchi (Open Season). The film features the voices of Ben Kingsley (Exodus), Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness), Jared Harris (Fringe), Richard Ayoade (The Double), and Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones), among others.
The Boxtrolls will emerge in theaters on September 26th, 2014.
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