The Boxtrolls

I was lucky enough to visit the set of “The Boxtrolls” earlier this year, and I was ridiculously impressed with the patience and attention to detail that the animators and artists at LAIKA pay to every aspect of their stop-action movies. But now that the movie is finally in theaters (get showtimes and tickets), I’ve decided to write a post about why the actual movie is great and actually worth seeing on the big screen.

1. It’s an adaptation: “The Boxtrolls” is  based on a fabulous, five-star book — “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow — you will want to read after seeing the movie. The filmmakers had to change a lot to turn the story into a movie, but curious viewers should be encouraged to read the book after (or ideally before, depending on how quickly your kids read) seeing Eggs, Fish, Winnie, etc. on the big screen.

2. Family isn’t about blood: I love that one of the major themes of “The Boxtrolls” is what having a family, a home, really means. Having a family and having a home isn’t just about blood and shelter, but about love and support, something Eggs has because of his adopted family of Boxtrolls who care for and raise him to be the incredible boy he is in the story.

3. It’s for older kids: This isn’t a movie for preschoolers. Just a because a movie is animated doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for toddlers and kindergarteners. My colleagues at Common Sense Media rated it for kids 9+, and while I might add that mature 6-8 year olds will be fine, it’s not really aimed at early elementary schoolers. This is a movie best savored by tweens who’ve graduated from Nick and Disney Jr. and are ready for edgier, more sophisticated movies. The story can get dark, so kids have to be up for that to appreciate “The Boxtrolls.”

4. The reviews are great: Don’t just take my word on it. “The Boxtrolls represents the best animated movie to reach theater screens since The Lego Movie exploded on the scene in February,” says James Berardinelli. “It’s a wonderful world, full of Rube Goldberg contraptions below and colorful Dickensian squalor and excess above,” writes Philadelphia Inquirer critic Steven Rea.

5. Halloween is taken care of: Seriously, my kids already want the entire family to dress up as various Boxtrolls. Considering how much they loved the various trolls (and how Halloween costumes cost), I may just encourage us all to wear cardboard boxes. I’m not exactly a Pinterest-obsessed crafty type, but I think even I could pull these costumes together. And if you’re into baking, there’s even a recipe for Boxtrolls cookies!