The Boxtrolls (Limited Edition Steelbook) [4K Ultra HD]
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning (VOICES)
Release Date: February 28, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
From the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman comes a magical family adventure about heroes of all shapes and sizes: The Boxtrolls. Quirky, mischievous and good-hearted, these box-wearing creatures have lovingly raised a human boy named “Eggs” in a charming cavern below the bustling streets of Cheesebridge. But when evil Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) decides to capture the lovable misfits, it’s up to Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his feisty young friend, Winnie (Elle Fanning), to save the Boxtrolls. Also featuring the voice talents of Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Toni Collette and Tracy Morgan, The Boxtrolls is “a delectable treat” (Brian Truitt, USA Today)!
Please Note: Shout! Factory provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘The Boxtrolls’ tells the story of the title characters; a group of generally kind-hearted and peaceful box-wearing creatures that live underground and have taken it upon themselves to raise a human-child they call “Eggs” since infancy with compassion and inclusion. Unfortunately, the dastardly no-good villain Archibald Snatcher has tricked the entire town into believing that these creatures are in fact child-killing monsters who must be eradicated for the town’s safety; a plot that if done correctly will finally earn him his esteemed status in the community. As Snatcher begins capturing the Boxtrolls one by one bringing his twisted plan closer to fruition, Eggs will have to join forces with a new human friend named Winnie to try and stop him and save his friends before it’s too late.
The third feature-length stop-motion animated film from LAIKA, ‘The Boxtrolls’ was smoothly guided along its touching course by directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi who do a nice job at the helm of the film from a screenplay by Irena Brignull and Adam Pava which was based on the book “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow. The capable and surely tiresome work behind the scenes is also greatly complemented by a notable voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan and Simon Pegg, with nearly all doing their part to help this animated adventure work as well as it does.
‘The Boxtrolls’ was first released in 2014 and offers a touching tale of misunderstood creatures with good intentions, the boy who loves them and an evil villain out to benefit from their potential demise which he’s carefully plotted out. Another feature film from LAIKA that’s beautifully animated with their careful attention to detail and backed up by a story that may seem goofy or ridiculous at first glance, but once given a chance is quickly unveiled for all of its heart, beauty and touching relationships that complement the danger and adventure splendidly; all with a suitably terrifying villain for our heroes to take on. While it may not be LAIKA’s greatest film as a whole, it’s still quite magnificent and another well-constructed and gorgeously animated gem that never fails to keep you enthralled and rooting for the heroes within. If you enjoy other similar animated films (especially other LAIKA titles) but haven’t had the pleasure of ‘The Boxtrolls’ I would definitely encourage trying to check it out whenever possible.
Courtesy of Shout! Factory and LAIKA, ‘The Boxtrolls’ returns home once again and now for the first time ever available on 4K Ultra HD. The new 4K UHD release delivers a gorgeous and impressively detailed new Ultra High Definition video presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 which certainly doesn’t disappoint and is only further complemented by a notable new Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that expands and adds a new and quite immersive audio presentation that’s a lot of fun in its own right. Add in a noteworthy offering of worthwhile bonus content and this new 4K Ultra HD release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ makes for a great debut of the film in the format and one that should easily have fans thrilled. The Limited Edition Steelbook edition of the release (which is the version that I was sent for review) also features some truly gorgeous, custom new hand drawn artwork on the front, rear and interior of the case which looks far superior to the more generic standard release for those who want these gems to really stand out in their collection. If you’re a fan of the film or just LAIKA’s films in general that’s fully 4K capable, then this 4K UHD release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ is definitely recommended.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, with a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, from a remaster by LAIKA. The original press announcement mentions some details on the remastering and is included below:
“The scrupulous remastering process for ‘The Boxtrolls’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ was overseen by the team at LAIKA, led by LAIKA CEO (and Kubo and the Two Strings Director) Travis Knight, and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Emerson, who pored over each film shot-by-shot, paying close attention to every last detail and color to present these groundbreaking films in the most dynamic format.”
The video presentation for the 4K UHD release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ looks tremendous as a whole and provides a clean, smooth and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish without any unexpected faults or problems to be uncovered along the way. The immaculate details of the stop-motion animation within are consistently impressive and everything from backgrounds, streets and character details and textures look sharp and spectacular across the board. The Dolby Vision addition only further improves upon it all and contributes beautiful, lifelike colors that are vibrantly rich and full from the gloomy pale colors on the eerie streets to the somewhat warmer coloring of some character clothing and hats. The great color palette only looks even better when complemented by the deep, rich blacks on display which never disappoint and the end result is quite the treat. Overall, this is a top notch Ultra High Definition video presentation that should absolutely thrill fans of this animated tale that have been hoping to see it arrive home in 4K.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a new Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack sounds great and offers a clean, crisp and occasionally quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It takes advantage of all seven available channels quite consistently in order to send music, characters zipping down into the depths, along with action and nature effects, crowd chatter and plenty more moving throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity, while never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered problematic in the process. Overall, this is a nice and fully capable Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that holds up well throughout and shouldn’t disappoint.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ features a nice collection of bonus content, nearly all of which can be found on the release’s included Blu-ray disc. The 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs both include an ‘Audio Commentary with Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi’ while the Blu-ray disc includes many other extras including ‘Inside LAIKA: Discovering the Characters of The Boxtrolls’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length), along with ‘Inside LAIKA: Revisiting the Puppets with LAIKA’s Animation Team’ which features a close look at multiple characters from the film (running approximately 1-2 minutes each). We are also treated to ‘Feature-Length Storyboards’ for the entire film (running approximately 96 minutes), in addition to the multi-part making of Featurette ‘Dare to be Square: Behind the Scenes of The Boxtrolls’ (approximately 33 minutes altogether). Also included are some brief Original Featurettes for the movie including ‘The Nature of Creation’ (approximately 3 minutes), ‘Trolls Right Off the Tongue’ (3 minutes), ‘Allergic to Easy’ (3 minutes), ‘Let’s Dance’ (2 minutes) and ‘On The Shoulders of Giants’ (2 minutes). ‘Still Galleries’ for ‘Character Art’, ‘Concept Art’ and Behind the Scenes’ are also included, along with the film’s ‘Trailer’ (2 minutes).
The Limited Edition Steelbook 4K UHD release of ‘The Boxtrolls’ also features some beautiful, new hand drawn artwork on the front, rear and interior along with a physical, full-color booklet included within that features an essay by Ramin Zahed, the Editor in Chief of Animation Magazine.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray disc included in the release and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
‘The Boxtrolls’ Arrives on 4K Ultra HD & Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook February 28, 2023 from LAIKA & Shout! Factory
You can purchase your copy of ‘The Boxtrolls 4K UHD Limited Edition Steelbook’ by clicking on the Amazon icon below, or purchase it directly from Shout Factory HERE!
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