The Boxtrolls (2014)
A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.
THE BOXTROLLS are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of a city called Cheesebridge. The story is about a young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator, the town's villain, Archibald Snatcher. When Snatcher comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls. Eggs decides to venture above ground and "into the light," where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save The BoxTrolls family. The film is based upon the children's novel 'Here Be Monsters' by Alan Snow.
Hidden deep into the bowels of the cheese-worshipping town of Cheesebridge, the mysterious and reclusive community of the harmless little critters known only as the Boxtrolls, have falsely earned the reputation of being a nocturnal clan of creatures who steal children, after adopting the orphaned baby boy, Eggs. Of course, this misleading rumour makes things a lot easier for the master Boxtroll exterminator, Archibald Snatcher, who thirsts to annihilate the entire species for his personal advantage; however, things will take a turn for the better when a grown-up Eggs resurfaces only to find an unexpected ally: the town lord's spirited daughter, Winnie. But, can the two of them come up with a bold strategy to save not only the remaining Boxtrolls' reputation but also their lives?
Subterranean trolls raise an orphaned boy, who helps them fight back against an evil exterminator and make peace with the fearful residents of an upper-crust Victorian-era town known for its world-class cheeses. The two things the people of this posh town treasure most are their children and their cheeses; unfortunately, those are also the things that the Boxtrools - a race of unsightly, sewer-dwelling creatures - covet most. Clad in cast-off cardboard boxes as they scuttle about underground, the Boxtrolls may look like a fearsome bunch, they're actually quite friendly. Having previously adopted an orphaned infant named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright), the diminutive tinkerers raise him as one of their own. Meanwhile, Eggs may be the Boxtrolls' only hope for survival when scheming exterminator Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley) seeks to earn his entry into the ultra-exclusive Cheesebridge society by eradicating the misunderstood creatures once and for all. Little does the villainous Snatcher realize that Eggs has a wealthy friend named Winnie (voiced by Ellie Fanning), and that Winnie may be the key to solving the longstanding feud between the people above, and the benevolent creatures below..
- One evening, in the village of Cheesebridge, word comes that a baby has been snatched by underground-dwelling creatures, known as Boxtrolls (so-called because of their clothing themselves in discarded cardboard boxes).
A rather unkempt man named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) goes to the head of the city, Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris). Rind wishes to not be bothered by the man, until Snatcher claims the Boxtrolls could possibly target the city's cheese supply.
Snatcher claims he can get rid of the Boxtrolls, but wants a place of prominence within the city's governing body, which also gives him a white hat (a sign of 'respect'), and access to the cheese-tasting room in City Hall. However, Rind makes the stipulation that Snatcher must get rid of all the Boxtrolls, before he will give in to his request.
Time passes, and soon, under the title of The Red Hats, Snatcher has begun conducting nightly searches throughout the village for the Boxtrolls. His accomplices include a little man named Mr Gristle (Tracey Morgan), and Mr Trout (Nick Frost), and Mr Pickles (Richard Ayoade). Of the 3, both Trout and Pickles pass the time, debating the merits of good and evil.
Meanwhile, the Boxtrolls have continued to live in their underground dwelling, though unlike the rumors of them being monsters, are rather docile. The little baby we saw in the beginning, has now become a boy, named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright), as this is what is on his box. His surrogate is Fish (Dee Bradley Baker), who soon takes to playing music with the boy.
As time goes on, the Boxtrolls numbers dwindle, as Snatcher manages to collect more and more of them. Soon, Eggs goes on several nightly hunts for more mechanical parts to fix their underground lair. During one of these travels, Portley-Rind's daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) sees him running about.
However, this night, Eggs' world is turned upside-down when Snatcher and his men manage to catch Fish.
In the aftermath of his surrogate (and best friend) being taken, Eggs questions why they always hide, when they should stand up and defend themselves.
Determined to get Fish back, Eggs dresses in a disguise, and heads up to the surface in the daylight. His trip brings him into the center of Cheesebridge, wherein the town is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the abduction of, "The Trapshaw Baby."
Much of the village is eager to see the performance of Madame Froufrou, though Eggs balks at her performance that backs up the town's feelings that Boxtrolls are abhorrent monsters.
After the performance, Eggs finds Winnie, who is surprised to find him out and about. Eggs asks her where the Boxtrolls are taken to, and she directs him to Snatcher's hideout, in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town.
Inside, Eggs finds Snatcher and his men partaking in a roleplaying game, wherein Snatcher pretends he's been given a White Hat, and sampling cheeses from within the town's tasting room. However, his cohorts (sans the devilish Mr Gristle) look on in horror as Snatcher begins to swell up, ignoring his own allergic reaction. Luckily, they manage to use leeches on him, that makes the swelling go down.
In this time, Eggs has found Fish in a cage, and manages to free him, but not before Snatcher and the gang attempt to trap them in an underground area of the factory...wherein Eggs and Fish see their comrades are still alive (but working on something for Snatcher).
Eggs and Fish manage to make it but Winnie has followed Eggs, and ends up escaping into the Boxtrolls' hideout with them.
Winnie is rather upset that the rumors of Boxtrolls being bloodthirsty monsters is untrue, but also attempts to convince Eggs that he's actually a human boy. Eggs tries to explain that he is a Boxtroll, but Fish ends up confirming Winnie's observations.
Fish also tells how they once befriended a human inventor, who happened to be Eggs' father. The Boxtrolls and the inventor shared their knowledge, until one day, Snatcher came to see the father. A scuffle ensued, in which Eggs as a baby, was then given to the Boxtrolls, and told to take him away.
Eggs wishes to expose Snatcher, as well as put to rest the negative thoughts of the Boxtrolls. Winnie tells how there's a gala at the City Hall that evening, and with the Boxtrolls' help, dresses Eggs to look like 'a proper boy.'
Going to the party, Eggs is accosted by Madame Froufrou...who it soon turns out has actually been Snatcher in disguise! However, as the party goes on, Eggs manages to break free of Snatcher, but ruins the festivities when he accidentally sends a gigantic wheel of Brie cheese out the doors, and into the nearby lake.
Eggs takes the chance to try and expose Snatcher, and explain about the Boxtrolls, but Lord Rind just claims that Eggs is a troublemaker who is to leave at once. Eggs leaves upset that his attempts have failed, leaving Winnie at the party.
However, no sooner has he returned to the Boxtrolls' hideout, when the walls tremble, and a gigantic machine invades (piloted by Snatcher!).
He uses it to suck up all the Boxtrolls, and transports them to the basement of his hideout. It is here that Eggs meets a man hanging upside-down, craving jelly. It soon becomes clear that this is Eggs' father, whom Snatcher had kidnapped to construct the Boxtroll-trapping machine that was just used. As well, Snatcher's henchmen have stacked all of the Boxtrolls under a giant crushing machine.
Seeing his friends in trouble Eggs pleads for them to not sit still, but stand up and fight! However, his protestations turn to horror when the machine crushes down, flattening the myriad boxes!
Snatcher next disguises Eggs as a Boxtroll (with a fake mask), and pilots his machine through town, coming to City Hall. Portly-Rind reluctantly appears, as Snatcher makes the demand that not only has he destroyed almost all the Boxtrolls, but he wants Portly-Rind's white hat in particular. The Lord scoffs at this, but the townspeople demand Snatcher's demands be met.
Portly-Rind reluctantly begins to make Snatcher a member of the City's Council, as his henchmen lower the disguised Eggs into the furnace of the machine. However, the mood is ruined when Snatcher's other machine appears, with the Boxtrolls at the wheel, and Eggs' father! It turned out that Eggs' speech did work, and they snuck out of their boxes before the crusher smashed down!
As well, Eggs is let go, and finally tells everyone about Snatcher's plan, and the lies about the Boxtrolls. Portly-Rind then claims he will not hand over his hat, causing Snatcher to get back atop his machine, now in a mad rage to get the white hat!
A crazed game of keep-away takes place, before the Boxtrolls manage to disassemble the machine. Just as it pitches over, the other Councilmen have recovered the large wheel of Brie from the river...which Snatcher promptly falls into, causing him to have a massive allergic reaction!
In the confusion, he manages to get ahold of Winnie and the white hat, and using them as hostages demands they all go to the Tasting room!
In the room, Portly-Rind presents Snatcher with a very rare cheese, and Winnie manages to escape by biting him. Even so, Snatcher is about to take a bite of the cheese, when Eggs asks him to reconsider. Claiming that cheese and position in society don't make a person who they are, but Snatcher refuses to listen, claiming that this is his 'destiny.'
He takes a bite of the cheese...and promptly explodes from his cheese allergy.
After these events, Cheesebridge welcomes the Boxtrolls as members of their society, and they prove adept at helping the myriad humans. As well, Eggs is reunited with his father, and they continue to acclimate him into society.
Lord Portly-Rind has become a better father and husband to his family, and Mr Pickles and Mr Trout revel in not being evil, and simply keeping the streets clean...
...though in a quiet moment at the end, Mr Pickles wonders about their existence, wondering if there are invisible giants, moving them through life...and just what they do when they are not controlling this tiny speck of a universe.