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Following last year's excellent 3D stop-motion animated comedy-horror film ParaNorman, those of us who fell in love with the movie were left to wonder what production company Laika might do next. As it happens, Laika is teaming up with Focus Features once again for their third film, following Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012), with an adaptation of Alan Snow's popular fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters.
Titled The Boxtrolls, the 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated film will be directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of Open Season) and Graham Annable, whose recent credits include ParaNorman (story artist) and Coraline (storyboard artist). There's already a pretty great voice cast involved, including Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark from Game of Thrones), Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan.
The announcement came with this excellent piece of art…
Described as a "comedic fable," the story is set in Cheesebridge (I already want to go to there), "a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses." Underneath the cobblestone streets are the titular Boxtrolls, whom the locals believe are foul monsters who climb up through the sewers at night and snatch their kids and their precious cheeses. But in reality, the Boxtrolls are quirky and lovable cavern dwellers with an appreciation for boxes - a trait many children (and cats) can likely appreciate - which they wear like turtle shells. The story involves a human orphan boy named Eggs (Hempstead-Wright) who was raised by the Boxtrolls as one of their own.
The villain of the piece is voiced by Kingsley. His name is Archibald Snatcher and he's a pest exterminator who is determined to eradicate the Boxtrolls in an effort earn a place among Cheesebridge society. It's up to Eggs and an adventurous rich girl named Winnie (Fanning) to bring the two worlds together "amidst the winds of change - and cheese."
Given the humor and heart demonstrated in ParaNorman, this story sounds like a great follow-up for Laika. And, am I alone in seeing the enormous potential for amazing box and cheese humor with this project? Laika's previous endeavors have proven that the production company really knows how to think outside the box. Given its predecessors, its voice cast and its potential, The Boxtrolls is already sure to be among the more anticipated animated films next
I'll try to work on my cheese and box puns and idioms between now and October 17, 2014, which is the date Focus and Laika have set for The Boxtroll's release.