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Western Animation / The Boxtrolls

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The Boxtrolls is a 2014 Stop Motion animated film from Laika Animation Studios, the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman. Directed by Graham Annable (of Grickle and Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent fame) and Anthony Stacchi, it is loosely based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. It features the vocal talents of Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan, with Dee Bradley Baker alongside Steve Blum as the primary actors for the title characters.

Cheesebridge is a posh Victorian England-esque town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. The only thing that its residents are more obsessed with than cheese is their fear of the evil, murderous monsters that dwell in the sewers. At least, that's what residents have always believed. In truth, the boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. They've even raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their own. When the boxtrolls are targeted by villainous boxtroll exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Kingsley), who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket into Cheesebridge high society, the kind-hearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and an adventurous young girl named Winnie (Fanning) to save them all.

You can watch the trailer here.

The Boxtrolls provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Wimp: Archibald Snatcher, who in the book was the head of the failing Cheese Guild and an Impoverished Patrician, who nonetheless had access to a fortified guildhall, a small army of thugs, and powerful friends. The movie Snatcher is a Social Climber "pest controller" who's generally regarded as a loser by everyone apart from his three henchmen.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The movie is a very loose adaptation of the book Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. The only things the film has in common with it are the boxtrolls themselves, the protagonist being a human boy reared underground, a villain named Snatcher (with a henchman named Gristle) who's hunting the boxtrolls, and characters exploding after eating too much cheese.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The setting is called Ratbridge in the book, and Cheesebridge in the movie — probably because keeping the old name wouldn't make any sense as there aren't any rats in the movie.
  • Adapted Out: A large number of major characters from the book aren’t featured whatsoever:
  • Adults Are Useless: The entire town, really, but a special mention should go to Lord Portley-Rind. If it's not about cheese, he has absolutely no interest in it.
  • All Trolls Are Different: The boxtrolls are short, Ugly Cute scavengers who wear discarded cardboard boxes (to the point of living in them, like a turtle's shell), live in the Absurdly Spacious Sewer beneath the town of Cheesebridge, and love to tinker. The citizens of Cheesebridge see them as a menace (mostly thanks to the propaganda spread by Mr. Snatcher), but they're Not Evil, Just Misunderstood.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In a non-sexual example, Winnie seems downright upset that the boxtrolls have no interest in gruesomely devouring her.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Eggs' father was apparently hung upside down for ten years and made it out with no physical damage and a mild case of being driven insane. In Real Life, you’d die after hanging like this after only eight to ten hours.
  • Authority in Name Only: Lord Portley-Rind and his fellow White Hats. They appear to be the ruling body of Cheesebridge, but are obsessed with cheese and their hats to the point of completely neglecting their duties to the city... and in Lord Portley-Rind's case at least, their families.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Gristle takes quite a bit of joy in exterminating boxtrolls, chases after Eggs with a cricket bat, and is constantly grinning. Unlike Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles, he never questions whether he's a good guy or a bad guy.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Snatcher succeeds in obtaining a White Hat and gets to sit in the tasting room and sample cheeses with Lord Portley-Rind. Not that it actually matters in the end.
  • Benevolent Monsters: The title characters are kind-hearted creatures that do little more than take trash to their underground lairs to make contraptions. The people above ground, however, fear them because they don't know what they really are, and are goaded along by the film's real Big Bad, who exploits their fear to advance his social status.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After Eggs is rendered unconscious, Fish shows anger for the first time.
  • Big Bad: Archibald Snatcher, leader of the boxtroll exterminators.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The boxtrolls save Eggs at the end.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Mr. Trout, Mr. Pickles, and Mr. Gristle, respectively.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Discussed by the henchmen. When declaring that the boxtrolls' "evil-doing" is coming to an end, it gets Mr. Trout wondering out loud if their quarry really understands "the duality of good and evil".
  • Blatant Lies: Mr. Snatcher when he and his henchmen sit down to eat cheese:
    Mr. Pickles: You sure this is a good idea, boss? You know what cheese can do to you...
    Mr. Snatcher: Unless you are referring to how cheese brings men of sophistication and power together in brotherhood, [leans in angrily] then no, I do NOT know what cheese "does to me."
    Mr. Pickles: [gulps nervously] That's what I meant, then.
    Mr. Snatcher: [immediately calm] Marvelous. Then let us begin.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The boxtrolls' boxes are completely devoid of blood and gore once they're crushed... because they weren't in the boxes at the time. And though it happened offscreen, according to Winnie, Mr. Snatcher's death wasn't exactly clean either. Played straight with Mr. Gristle, though.
  • Bookends: The story begins with Fish looking around for Eggs. In the end, Eggs is asking around for Fish.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A mid-credits sequence has Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles speculating about their animated existence and the lives of the giants who make them move. Meanwhile, an animator (Travis Knight) manipulates their stop-motion figures one frame at a time, and the camera zooms out to reveal that they're standing on a to-scale set of that particular street corner.
  • Brick Joke: "You bit me... with your mouth!" It's first said by Winnie after Eggs bites her, and then by Snatcher after Winnie bites him.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats:
    • The White Hats, who rule Cheesebridge like a fiefdom and hold private tastings of only the finest cheeses.
    • Snatcher and his men all wear equally silly-looking red hats.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The boxtrolls' eyes glow in the dark.
  • Call-Back:
    • Eggs' dad frequently says the word "jelly". By the end of the movie, he's wearing a box with the word "jelly" on it. The boxtrolls must have thought it was his name.
    • To cure Snatcher's allergic reaction to cheese, Mr. Gristle fetches leeches from a barrel. In the final fight, the boxtrolls toss him into a barrel of leeches, and just as he finally escapes, he's crushed by Snatcher's mecha as it falls.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Much of Mr. Gristle's dialogue is him describing what he's doing. "I'm jumping on a cage!" "I'm swinging on a chain!"
    • "You bit me, with your mouth." Both times it's said, the speaker has just been bit by the person they're talking to.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The giant cheese wheel. Just after the rest of the White Hats return after having it fetched out of the river, Snatcher falls into it, activating his allergies.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Attentive viewers will notice and wonder, "Hey, who's that hairy guy hanging upside down in Snatcher's lab?" It's Eggs' biological dad, alive all this time.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Eggs is one of these — he was born a human, but raised as a boxtroll after an attempt on his birth father's life.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Snatcher performs as Madame Frou-Frou to spread fear of the Boxtrolls.
  • Cross-Cultural Handshake: The boxtrolls rather adorably slap their hands on their chests when they're happy.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: Trout and Pickles continually have misgivings that, despite being told by Snatcher that they are doing a heroic public service, their job seems suspiciously like they might be the Bad Guys. They have several philosophical debates on whether or not this is the case.
  • Curse Cut Short: Mr. Gristle lets out an "Oh sh—" before getting crushed to death by Snatcher's machine falling over.
  • Darkest Hour: Eggs and the last of the boxtrolls have all been rounded up, it appears the rest of the boxtrolls have been killed, and Snatcher is about to kill off Eggs and get what he wants: a spot on the council and a white hat. Then Winnie convinces Trout and Pickles to make a Heel–Face Turn, and the boxtrolls return for a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Disappeared Dad: Eggs' biological father went missing, presumed dead, after Snatcher and his men tried to extort him for something. He turns out to be alive and well, still being held hostage by Snatcher ten years later.
  • Disguised in Drag: Archibald Snatcher is really Madame Frou-Frou. Or is it the other way around?
  • Disney Death: It seems that Snatcher was successful in crushing the Boxtrolls to death, but they turn out to have escaped in the middle of Eggs' speech just out of his line of sight, and they return in time to save the day.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Snatcher's Death by Gluttony happens this way, with a cut to a distant shot of Cheesebridge and a huge cloud of orange-yellow mist erupting from the Portley-Rind mansion at its peak.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: At the end of the movie, Eggs tries to talk Snatcher out of eating the cheese by sharing the Aesop that he's learned over the course of the movie ("You make you"). Unfortunately for the villain, he misreads Eggs as talking about achieving one's ambitions and crossly responds "I have made me, boy."
  • Dramatic Irony: Eggs telling Winnie that boxtrolls don't eat babies is essentially this when you bear in mind he's living proof of that, and he doesn't even know it.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Eggs tries to invoke this by pulling off Madame Frou-Frou's wig to reveal that she's Snatcher. Averted when Snatcher manages to come up with the excuse that "Frou-Frou" wears a wig to hide that she's not a real redhead.
  • Drunk on Milk: Well, milk byproduct at least; cheese makes Snatcher act like a surly drunk. Though this could just be his allergic reaction messing with his head, since it also gives him hallucinations.
  • Ear Trumpet: The oldest White Hat can be seen with one.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Archibald Snatcher's middle name is Penelope.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Snatcher sends his henchmen to 'acquire' the boxtrolls, each of their different personalities are demonstrated through how they engage in the conversation between them. Mr. Pickle prattles philosophically about whether a foot can be evil. Mr. Trout intelligently tries to clarify that Snatcher's "evil is afoot" speech is just an expression for "evil is near". Mr. Gristle just takes simple pleasure in kicking the hiding boxtrolls about.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: During Snatcher's and Eggs' confrontation during the ball, at one point, Snatcher is clearly shown to be about to strangle Eggs with a scarf.
  • Fantastic Vermin: Deconstructed; despite the boxtrolls being portrayed as this by Snatcher's performaces, the Boxtrolls are less of an infestation, and not nearly as dangerous as Snatcher says they are.
  • Foil: Eggs and Winnie are this to each other. Eggs may have been raised by boxtrolls and never had the same luxuries or traditional upbringing as Winnie, but he couldn't be happier living with the boxtrolls, who are like a true family to him. As a result, he's (relatively) the most well-adjusted person in Cheesebridge. Winnie, on the other hand, comes from a wealthy nuclear family and was brought up in high society, but she's pretty unhappy due to her parents' neglect of her, not to mention obsessed with the boxtrolls' man-eating lore.
  • Foreshadowing: The first time the boxtrolls go down a certain street one night, there's a poster advertising Cheese Bridge. The second time (10 years later), an eagle eye will notice a different kind of poster replaces it, one advertising Madame Frou-Frou. Not only are the audience introduced to this character before any debut, but once it's revealed Frou-Frou is Snatcher, it because an indicator of how his lies about the Boxtrolls have deeply influenced the town.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All the boxtrolls have them, while the other characters have five-fingered hands. It's Winnie pointing out the difference that makes Eggs realize he's actually a human.
  • Giant Food: At the party at his house, Lord Portley-Rind is delighted to reveal a giant cheese wheel called the Briehemoth. The White Hats bought it with money meant for building a children's hospital.
  • Giving Them the Strip: For boxtrolls, their boxes are like clothes, and taking them off is unheard of. Eggs' speech convinces them to overcome their shame and do it nonetheless when Snatcher is about to crush them all, so only their boxes get flattened while the trolls themselves escape naked (see Disney Death above).
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Mr. Trubshaw has gone more than a little dotty from being chained upside down and possibly tortured for ten years by Snatcher and his flunkies. He seems to get over it after Snatcher is defeated and he's reunited with his son Eggs.
  • Good-Times Montage: In the beginning, there's a lovely montage of Eggs growing up, making music with Fish, and exploring the world. It becomes something of a Sad-Times Montage, however, when the pile of sleeping boxtrolls becomes progressively smaller and smaller, signifying how the Red Hats are threatening their way of life.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Snatcher exploding is shown from the point of view of a cow pasture well outside Cheesebridge as a cloud of yellow gas erupting from the Portley-Rind mansion at the top of the city.
  • G-Rated Drug: Archibald Snatcher is obsessed with cheese as a status symbol, even though eating it causes a violent allergic reaction that not only makes his face swell up in a nasty fashion, but causes him to act like a surly drunk and even hallucinate at one point. One of his lackeys, Mr. Pickles, even warns him "You know what cheese does to you..."
  • Happy Circus Music: "Cheesebridge Funfair," a short waltz tune on brass and woodwinds which plays when Eggs first emerges into Cheesebridge during the daylight on the Trubshaw Baby remembrance holiday.
  • Hat of Authority: The members of the White Hat Council, the ruling body of Cheesebridge, wear very tall white hats as a status symbol; Snatcher and his lackeys wear similar red hats, and his obsession with moving up in the world includes getting a spot on the council and a hat of his own for wiping out the boxtrolls.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Snatcher does a version of this. When Winnie discovers that Eggs is the missing child as the exterminators are trying to catch him, Snatcher asks Winnie if her father is with her. When she says he isn't, he tries to kill her too so as to blame that on the boxtrolls as well.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Done by Mr. Pickles and Mr. Trout. Averted with Snatcher and Mr. Gristle.
  • Heel Realization: It eventually dawns on Trout and Pickles that they're not the good guys, and all it takes to get them to rebel against Snatcher is an Armor-Piercing Question from Winnie.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Fish — the boxtroll who raised Eggs for ten years and his adoptive father — is finally captured by Snatcher, Eggs seem to shut down for a little while before ultimately deciding to rescue him, thus finally taking action against Snatcher for the first time.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: "The Boxtrolls Song", sung by Madame Frou-Frou about how evil the Boxtrolls are.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Eggs briefly becomes convinced of this after his disastrous attempt to blend in with civilized people and Lord Portley-Rind's refusal to help.
    • The trope is discussed back and forth by Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles throughout the movie as they try to determine whether or not they're actually the good guys.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Eggs is a human orphan raised since infancy by the eponymous boxtrolls, to the point that for a long time he thinks he is one.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "You bit me, with your mouth" is first said by Winnie to Eggs, then by Snatcher to Winnie.
    • When Winnie tries to retrieve her dad's white hat after throwing it away, she is met by Snatcher, who asks how the hat got all the way out on the street. Later, as Winnie tries to distract Snatcher while the boxtrolls dismantle his machine, she asks him the same question with the same hammy intonation.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During a pseudo-drunken rant, Snatcher gripes about how all Lord Portley-Rind and his fellow White Hats do is sit around and waste the taxpayers' time and money on eating fancy cheeses, which is a startlingly accurate description of them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Winnie is obsessed with gruesome stories of the boxtrolls eating people and their lair filled with rivers of blood and mountains of baby bones... but flips out when she finds out that none of it is true, making her look foolish in front of the timid and gentle boxtrolls. Later, however, she helps Eggs get to know the human world, and sympathizes with him when he briefly gives up on humans entirely.
  • Keep Away: Snatcher is trying to snatch Lord Portley-Rind's white hat when Winnie takes it and tosses it back and forth between the other good guys as a distraction while the boxtrolls dismantle Snatcher's machine from under him.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Snatcher's last words: "Aromatic, oaky, with an undertone of a mother's--" (BOOM!)
  • The Last Straw: Already grotesquely bloated from falling in the remains of the Briehemoth, eating a mere mouse-sized piece of cheese causes Snatcher to explode.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The ending has Mr. Pickles and Mr. Trout discussing how neatly everything has wrapped up, as if it was a story, "assuming we're in one." The stinger goes on to have the pair debate their existence and whether all their actions are controlled by invisible giants. As the discussion continues, the audience sees the sped up movements of a stop-motion animator flitting about a miniature set manipulating them both. They finally conclude that such a job would be horribly tedious and that nobody would seriously do that as a primary line of work... just as the credits for the animators roll.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Winnie is directing Eggs to the boxtroll exterminators' lair on Curds Way, she points him towards a sign for Milk Street and tells him, "Milk turns into it." This is followed by a Rimshot caused by the one-man band tripping and dropping his cymbals.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The boxtrolls get their names from whatever words and images are depicted on their box, leading to names like Fish, Shoe, Fragile, and Knickers. The protagonist, a human boy reared by the Boxtrolls, gets the name "Eggs".
  • Lovable Coward: The entire boxtroll species. They’re completely unwilling to fight back against Snatcher, even though he's presumably killed many of them. Eggs helps them grow out of it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens to Snatcher. Via cheese.
  • Madness Mantra: Eggs' birth father has lost it a bit due to being hung upside down for ten years. As a result, he spouts the word "jelly" fairly often.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • A minor one, but when teaching Eggs manners, Winifred tells him to tell people "it's a pleasure to meet you", even if he doesn't actually mean it. Later, when he leaves after the failed attempt at revealing the truth about his identity to her father, he tells her "It was a pleasure to meet you. And I really mean that."
    • One of the lyrics in Madame Frou-Frou's boxtroll song is "Trubshaw Sr. loved his kid, the same as regular fathers did." Later on in the film, Snatcher menacingly sings this lyric to Eggs to confirm the identity of the insane prisoner in front of him.
    • "Look what you did." The first time Trubshaw tells Eggs this (right after the boxtrolls seemingly get crushed to death), it comes off as the mad ravings of a man whose words unwittingly remind Eggs of his failure to save them. The second time (shortly after learning the boxtrolls are alive because of him), the words take on a whole new meaning as Trubshaw's lucid expression of how proud he is of Eggs' success to help them leave their boxes.
  • Missing Mom: Eggs' is never seen. Averted with Winnie, but Lady Portley-Rind isn't involved with the main plot.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Archibald Penelope Snatcher.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Winifred is fascinated by all the gory tales of the boxtrolls and their rivers of blood, to the point that she nearly throws a tantrum upon finding that none of them are true.
  • No Social Skills: Eggs, who needs to have simple greetings explained to him due to having lived almost his entire life as a boxtroll.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Lord Portley-Rind, who ignores his daughter in favor of cheese or his white hat.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Eggs believes he's a boxtroll up until Winnie convinces him otherwise.
  • Obliviously Evil: Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles, who both believe they are the good guys. They waver throughout the movie though, and eventually make a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Obviously Evil: Snatcher, and to a lesser extent his henchmen. Snatcher is a scary-looking pest exterminator who stirs up fear of innocent creatures in the populace of Cheesebridge, and absolutely drips Evil Is Hammy. Mr. Gristle viciously kicks boxtrolls to scare them out of hiding, and Messrs. Pickle and Trout, while they are much less scary, still participate in the campaign to exterminate the entire populace of boxtrolls.
  • One-Gender Race: The boxtrolls, though it could be that we don't know the difference between their genders. Several of them are voiced by Nika Futterman, so perhaps those are the females.
  • One-Winged Angel: One of the more bizarre examples of this trope. After having his machine dismantled by the boxtrolls and being seemingly defeated, Snatcher falls into the remains of the Briehemoth. His violent allergies flare up, causing his entire body to swell monstrously, and he successfully kidnaps Winnie and convinces Lord Portley-Rind to trade his white hat for her safety.
  • Oppose What You Suffered: Subverted by Archibald Snatcher, who, as a "Red Hat," is of lower social status than the "White Hats," but is quite willing to step on those who are even lower on the rungs of the social ladder than himself, i.e. the eponymous vilified boxtrolls. Played straight and even lampshaded by the Red Hats Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles, who have a Heel Realization and, even when faced with failing to obtain a better social status by doing so, decide to aid the oppressed boxtrolls and their human allies Winifred and Eggs.
  • Parental Substitute: Fish, for Eggs. Eggs indirectly calls the boxtroll his father at one point.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: The film ends with Eggs being reunited with his biological father, but still considers Fish, who raised him to be his father. So now he has two loving fathers!
  • Plot Allergy: Archibald's severe lactose intolerance (he swells up from a tiny sliver of extra mild cheddar) is part of what prevents him from joining the White Hats and eventually leads to his Karmic Death.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Snatcher's ultimate fate.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Eggs and the boxtrolls have defeated Archibald Snatcher's Tripod Terror and exposed his lies about the boxtrolls being baby-eating monsters... when Snatcher emerges from the remains of a giant cheese wheel, drunk on one of his "cheese fits", and holds Winnie hostage, blackmailing Lord Portley-Rind into handing over his nice hat and escorting Snatcher to his exclusive "tasting room". Fortunately, Snatcher's cheese obsession proves to be his own undoing.
  • Punny Name:
    • Milk Street turns into Curds Way.
    • Curds Way ("whey") is also one in itself.
  • Raised by Wolves: Eggs is a human boy who was raised by boxtrolls in boxtroll society. Since he was raised this way since well before he could remember ever being a human or having a human father, he ultimately grew to believe that he was a boxtroll until Winnie made him see otherwise.
  • Redemption Rejection: This is essentially how Snatcher gets himself killed. In eating that last piece of cheese, he refuses to give up his ambitions even though achieving them won't make him a better person, and thus seals his fate a moment later.
  • Reluctant Gift: Archibald Snatcher brings Lord Portley-Rind's white hat, which he found in the middle of the street, to its owner. However, since he covets the hat (and the position it entails), he only gives it back after lots of procrastination and a prolonged tug-of-war between him and Lord Portley-Rind.
  • Scenery Censor: When the boxtrolls come to Eggs' rescue, they don't have their boxes to cover them up anymore, so anything that isn't a butt is covered by scenery, props, and other boxtrolls.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the climax, Snatcher equates himself and Eggs as both being monsters and outcasts of Cheesbridge's society, taunting "You think they'll ever accept us?" Eggs responds with "I'm nothing like you! You're the monster!"
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Eggs tries to convince Snatcher that he doesn't need a fancy hat or fancy cheese to be somebody important, and that he is what makes himself. Snatcher retorts "I have made me, boy... this is my destiny!", and Death by Gluttony ensues.
  • Sincerity Mode: Eggs shakes hands with Winnie and says that it was nice to meet her... but adding that he means it.
  • Skewed Priorities: The residents live in fear of the boxtrolls stealing their cheese... and their children.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Mr. Trout, played for laughs.
  • Sommelier Speak: The citizens of Cheesebridge speak this way in regards to fine cheese.
  • Species Title: Boxtrolls, the titular creatures, are trolls that wear boxes and live in the sewers.
  • Steampunk: The setting of the film, the Victorian England-esque town of Cheesebridge, which generally conforms with our reality except for the exterminators' tech, which includes a furnace-powered mech.
  • The Stinger: Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles have an existential discussion, wondering if there really is free will and if they're just the puppets of some higher beings. As they're having this discussion, the camera slowly zooms out to show the tiny set of the street they're standing on, and the scene turns into a time-lapse of them being animated, still discussing the universe.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Baby Kate Cry: In the flashback story, Baby Eggs does this while he's being lowered to the ground in his Eggs box. The thunder booms, the lightning flashes, and rain pours down as Fish bolts through the gate and out of the yard with Baby Eggs still in the Eggs box.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Mr. Gristle escapes from the leeches just in time to get splattered by the falling Tripod Terror.
  • Tap on the Head: Giving someone a whack a large heavy object (like a wrench) is a great way to cause brain damage or permanently debilitating injury. Eggs' father didn't die when Snatcher hit him, but it definitely knocked a few of his screws loose.
  • That Poor Cat: The film features a cat's screeching yowl among other sounds produced by a giant cheese wheel crashing through the town of Cheesebridge.
  • Theme Naming: The boxtrolls take their names from whatever's printed on their boxes.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: After Fish is captured by the boxtroll exterminators, we're treated to a scene where Shoe tries to cheer him up by bringing him some food (in the form of bugs). Eggs is so despondent he doesn't even register them.
  • Tripod Terror: Snatcher builds one, with the help of captured boxtrolls, to break into the boxtroll lair and round up the rest.
  • Truth in Television: In the cheese-tasting Room, Lord Portley-Rind presents "the tastiest cheese known to man", made from the milk of "the lactating male fruit bats...". As it turns out, some species of bats in real life actually do have males that lactate.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: After Snatcher reveals himself to be Madame Frou-Frou, Lord Portley-Rind has a horrified look on his face and states, "I regret so much".
  • Upper-Class Twit: All the White Hats, but especially Lord Portley-Rind; never before has one man so perfectly embodied Hanlon's Razor.
  • Villain of Another Story: Lord Portley-Rind. Let's make a list: he wastes taxpayers' money and time just sitting around eating rare cheese, completely ignores his daughter to focus more on his hat and cheese, spends charity money for a children's hospital on a large wheel of cheese that most likely only he and his other White Hats would have eaten, completely ignores Eggs' public confession, tries to get out of his deal with Snatcher, when it is revealed the boxtrolls are alive he flat out rubs the fact into Snatcher's face that he will never get what he wants, and even when his daughter is caught by Snatcher and he has to trade his hat to save her he tries to negotiate with him for something else. If Snatcher wasn't such a monster, Lord Portley-Rind could have easily been the villain of this story.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Snatcher has one for cheese, which leads to his death.
  • Wham Line: After Eggs learns that he's not a boxtroll:
    Winnie: HA! I knew it! [to Fish] Admit it! Admit you stole him!
    Fish: [gibberish]
    Winnie: What's he saying?
    Eggs: He says I was given to them.
    Winnie: Yes! That's ri— Wait, what?
  • What You Are in the Dark: At one point of his scheme, Snatcher sadistically smashes the boxtrolls to extinction in one go in order to fulfill his bargain with Lord Portley-Rind and earn a white hat. Later, it's revealed that the boxtrolls escaped their boxes in the nick of time. Still, the fact that he crushes their boxes at all instead of any other method speaks volumes to the fact that he's willing to do anything in the name of getting a white hat.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Snatcher has no qualms with attempting to kill Eggs on multiple occasions, as well as Winnie when She Knows Too Much.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Trout and Pickles, two of Snatcher's minions, are convinced they're the good guys fighting the forces of evil, though both of them become aware throughout the film that they are in fact Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Two boxtrolls jam metal implements into a pair of toasters and then activate the toasters. The boxtrolls receive huge jolts of electricity and their bodies and the boxes they're wearing become transparent, allowing their skeletons to be seen.
  • You Killed My Father: In a flashback, Snatcher apparently kills Eggs' father with a wrench. This is subverted, however, since he didn't actually kill him. However, he did keep him prisoner for years and drove him insane. A Fate Worse than Death indeed.
  • You Monster!: Eggs to Snatcher in his Shut Up, Hannibal! moment.


Video Example(s):


The death of Snatcher

Archibald finally gets what he wants, a white hat and a seat at the Tasting Table, betraying his friends, becoming a monster and refusing his last chance of redemption. It directly causes his death, when he eats the cheese he's allergic too, blowing himself up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / KarmicDeath

Media sources: