The Boxtrolls ★★★
Laika is the Portland, Oregon stop-motion/CGI animation house bankrolled by Nike chairman Phil Knight (no, really) whose successful slate includes Coraline, ParaNorman and Kubo and the Two Strings. The Boxtrolls is based on British novel Here Be Monsters!, set in a steampunk version of early-19th-century Wiltshire where a human boy (voiced by Game of Thrones’s Isaac Hempstead Wright) – raised in the sewers by the scavenging trolls of the title – must help restore the détente threatened by a cross-dressing pest exterminator (Ben Kingsley). Running on a manic energy and joyful grotesquerie, directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi create a believable world whose closest reference is Wallace and Gromit (there’s even an obsession with cheese). Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost round out the cast, and it should entertain all ages with its marvellous contraptions and intricate slapstick.
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