The Boxtrolls is a 2014 American 3D stop-motion animated fantasy comedy film that is loosely based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. Produced by Laika, it was directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi and written by Irena Brignull and Adam Pava with a story adapted by Stacchi and Phil Dale. The film tells the story of Eggs, a human boy raised by trash-collecting trolls, known as "Boxtrolls", as he attempts to save them from Archibald Snatcher, a pest exterminator. The film stars Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, and Simon Pegg.
The film was released on September 26, 2014, by Focus Features, to generally positive reviews from critics. The film earned $109 million on a $60 million budget. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.
In the fictional hill-top town of Cheesebridge, Norvenia during the Victorian era, rumors abound that subterranean trolls (known as Boxtrolls for the cardboard boxes they wear) have kidnapped and killed a young child. Archibald Snatcher, the grouchy and dangerous pest exterminator, strikes a deal with the city's leader Lord Portley-Rind to exterminate every Boxtroll in exchange for membership in the city's cheese-loving council called the White Hats, despite the fact that he is severely allergic to cheese. Snatcher hatches an evil plan and tells his comical and fun-loving butler and assistant, Mr. Gristle, and his two bodyguards, the clumsy and smart Mr. Trout and the childish and weepy Mr. Pickles, that they will team up with him to kill the White Hats, exterminate the Boxtrolls, rule Cheesebridge and rename it "Snatcher-ville".
In actuality, the Boxtrolls are peaceful and emerge from underground at night to scavenge for discarded items with which to make useful inventions. A human boy named Eggs lives among them, cared for by a Boxtroll named Fish. As Eggs grows up, he becomes dismayed by the disappearing Boxtrolls seized by Snatcher. After Lord Portley-Rind's daughter Winnie sees Eggs with two Boxtrolls, Snatcher captures Fish. Eggs sneaks to the surface to find Fish and emerges in an annual fair to commemorate the disappearance of the "Trubshaw Baby" who was allegedly killed by Boxtrolls.
Disgusted by the town's inaccurate portrayal of the creatures, Eggs follows Winnie. After a brief exchange, he asks her for directions to Snatcher's headquarters, located at an abandoned factory, where Eggs rescues Fish. They are caught in the escape. Snatcher recognizes Eggs as the Trubshaw Baby and reveals that all the captured Boxtrolls are building him a machine. Winnie, who covertly followed Eggs, overhears this exchange. She then helps Eggs and Fish escape from Snatcher and they take shelter in the Boxtrolls' caves, where Fish explains that Eggs' father had given him to them to keep him from Snatcher. Winnie agrees to help Eggs tell Portley-Rind the truth. At a ball held to commemorate the purchase of a giant cheese wheel called the Briehemoth, which was foolishly made using the funds for a children's hospital, Eggs tries to confront Portley-Rind, but is confronted by Snatcher (disguised as "Madame Frou-Frou Snatcher", his wife). Whilst trying to avoid Snatcher, Eggs inadvertently knocks the cheese wheel into a river. Eggs announces himself to the party as the Trubshaw Baby, but no one believes him, including Portley-Rind who is too upset about losing the cheese wheel.
Eggs tries to persuade the remaining Boxtrolls to flee for their own safety, but Snatcher digs into the caves and captures them all. Eggs awakens to find his presumed deceased father, Herbert Trubshaw, a prisoner beside him, realizing that Snatcher killed him, but truly locked him up. He sees the Boxtrolls stacked in a crusher and begs them to leave their boxes and run, but they are apparently killed by the crusher.
Snatcher drives his machine to Lord Portley-Rind's house, shows him the flattened boxes as proof of the Boxtrolls' extinction, and demands Portley-Rind's white hat in exchange for killing the last Boxtroll, which is actually Eggs disguised. The Boxtrolls, who have escaped from the crusher, and Herbert free Eggs, while Snatcher tries to take Portley-Rind's hat by force. During the fight, Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles, who redeem themselves, join Eggs' team and help the group disable the machine, which falls on Mr. Gristle and crushes him to death. Eggs and Snatcher are thrown clear and land on the recovered Briehemoth, which triggers Snatcher's cheese allergy and causes him to swell to an enormous size. He seizes Winnie and forces Lord Portley-Rind to give up his hat in exchange for her safety, but he explodes into pieces after tasting an aged cheese sample.
The townspeople and Boxtrolls begin a peaceful coexistence. Winnie tells the tale of Snatcher's end to a crowd, while Eggs and Fish drive off in one of Herbert's contraptions.
In a mid-credits scene, Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles clean the streets and have a philosophical discussion as a Laika Studios employee animates the scene, breaking the fourth wall.
- Isaac Hempstead Wright as Eggs, an orphaned human boy raised by the Boxtrolls.
- Ben Kingsley as Archibald Snatcher, a ruthless, antagonistic and cunning pest exterminator who also cross-dresses as his wife and slave, Madame Frou-Frou.
- Elle Fanning as Winnie Portley-Rind, Eggs's first human friend and the daughter of Lord and Lady Portley-Rind.
- Dee Bradley Baker as Fish, Wheels, and Bucket, three Boxtrolls.
- Steve Blum as Shoe and Sparky, two Boxtrolls.
- Toni Collette as Lady Cynthia Portley-Rind, Winnie's mother and Lord Portley-Rind's wife.
- Jared Harris as Lord Charles Portley-Rind, Winnie's father, the cheese-obsessed leader of the White Hats, and the leader of Cheesebridge.
- Nick Frost as Mr. Trout, Snatcher's corpulent, bumbling, yet intellectual henchman.
- Richard Ayoade as Mr. Pickles, Snatcher's tall, spindly, well-meaning but misguided henchman.
- Tracy Morgan as Mr. Gristle, Snatcher's diminutive and maniacal henchman.
- Simon Pegg as Herbert Trubshaw, a brilliant inventor and Eggs's father.
- You can also hear the crying sound of Baby Kate from Arthur in this film.