Opinion: ‘The Boxtrolls’ is One of the Most Important Films of the Year
Forget the sequels (Dolphin Tale 2, Atlast Shrugged III), forget the remakes (The Equalizer), heck, even forget the YA adaptations (The Maze Runner) – which seem to run Hollywood nowadays. Those are not the most important movies of the month.
Maybe it’s completely petty/unnecessary (or even pretenious) to say one movie is more “important” than other movie. And even though September has been extremely uninteresting as a whole, I still think a debate could rage on about which movie is, in fact, the most important. We can even extend this to the rest of the year.
I’ll fire the metaphorical first shot in this week’s Movie Chat where I lobby for Laika’s newest movie, The Boxtrolls, which releases wide this coming weekend.
There’s a lot to be said about the 2014 blockbuster season. It had a lot of potential – and I actually enjoyed a lot of what they had to offer with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Guardians of the Galaxy – but for some reason it didn’t seem to compare to last summer’s run.
When you sit down and look at potential reasons why, it is pretty obvious that the “family” demographic had very little to choose from this summer. Besides How To Train Your Dragon 2 (another movie I quite enjoyed), parents had virtually no selection during their kids’ summer vacation.
The Boxtrolls may be a little tardy on the summer blockbuster season (and this movie might not be as family-friendly as other animated choices); however, it’ll likely be a movie that generates interest from families.
Pixar has dominated Hollywood since they released the original Toy Story back in 1995. Certainly, nobody projected Pixar to grow into a mongul right away; however, since 1995, there have only been five calendar years without a new Pixar movie (including the two years following Toy Story). They’ve managed a movie a year since 2006 as well.
That changes this year as The Good Dinosaur was pushed back until 2015, which, yes, did ignite wildfire-like rumors. The future looks strong, though, as there are six movies slated for the next four years.
That means 2014 is the year for Laika to end Pixar’s monopoly. By monopoly, I mean their reign on the animated world (critically and commerically). No, Laika isn’t trying to be Pixar, but they have to strive for what Pixar has created for themselves (which, yes, does include how they’ve fared come awards seasons).
You may think animation is the number one priority for animated movies. However, given the source material, I would guess (I haven’t seen the movie yet, so this is more of a hope of mine) storytelling still trumps appearance. This should always be the case, in my humble opinion, but so often the story takes a backseat to make way for the surface-level “flashy” appeal.
Based on “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow, there’s a lot of thematic potential given the source material. It also looks (and feels) like a Roald Dahl tale which should be reason enough to go see The Boxtrolls.
With that being said, I do think style is worth at least pointing out. Yes, story should come first (hence why that paragraph came first). However, to separate yourself from the pack, you must think differently. Laika has always thought differently (as seen by both Coraline and ParaNorman) and The Boxtrolls will likely follow suit with fantastic stop-motion technology.
Laika’s The Boxtrolls isn’t a sure-fire winner. I have purposefully stayed away from reviews/reactions (something I try my hardest to do before seeing any new release). However, I’ve had this movie circled for quite some time because of my interest in Laika and their collision-course with the juggernaut that is Disney-Pixar.
That alone makes The Boxtrolls an important movie; however, given the lack of family-friendly films and a lot of source material potential, there are reasons abound to pay attention to how this movie fares both commericially and when the awards season ramps into full gear in the coming months.
Not only is The Boxtrolls the most important movie of the month, but it could be one of the most important movies of the year.
The Boxtrolls releases this weekend in wide release. You can see the movie as early as Thursday night.
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