Earlier this year, I was treated to a visit to Laika studios to get an in depth look at the making of this film. I’ll be completely honest, the trailers up until that point hadn’t quite caught my fancy. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the film but I was willing to give it a shot. Let me say that just seeing for myself all of the talent and dedication that went into creating The Boxtrolls, gave me a whole new outlook on the film.
[infobox]Proving that heroes can come in all shapes and sizes…even rectangles, The Boxtrolls tells the story of a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who lovingly raise an orphaned human boy named Eggs on their own. Hiding beneath the streets of Cheesebridge in an amazing cavernous abode, The Boxtrolls love sneaking around the town when it’s late at night, capturing food and having fun! Proving that life, can indeed, be an enjoyable game of hide and seek, The Boxtrolls motivate kids of all ages to dare to be square in the best way possible![/infobox]
Based on the book by Alan Snow ‘Here Be Monsters,’ Laika began toying with the idea of bringing The Boxtrolls to life about 10 years ago (the same time as Coraline). With over 500 pages of fairly complicated storytelling and characters, finding a way to distill the essence of the entire book for a 90 minute film was admittedly tricky. In the end, they decided to take one small portion of the book along with a “family” angle and explored film through that prism.
You have to remember folks, this is NOT your typical animated film drafted and shot in a digital world. Everything is hand made, from scratch due to the size of the “world” of The Boxtrolls, from the set to the clothes to the puppets. Each facial expression is painstakingly created and swapped out with each passing frame. Each shot is taken twice, one for the left and one for the right cameras.
Laika prides itself in melding traditional hand crafted artistry with stop motion picture filmography to create the perfect and artful blend of darkness and light, intensity and warmth that gives a bold and distinctive movie experience. Check out this behind the scenes trailer to see what I mean for yourself.
With the movie out in theaters today, I wanted to share with you a few fun facts about the making of the film. Make sure you keep these in mind when you see the movie tonight and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the hard work that went into making the film that much more!
- The film is 87 minutes long = 5,220 seconds = 125,280 frames = 125,280 opportunities to make a mistake!
- An animator was able to complete 17-18 frames on a good day. This translates into 1 week to complete 3.7 seconds’ worth of footage, which is just under 90 individual frames
- There are 14 different fabrics in Lord Portley-Rind’s white hat
- The movie’s smallest costumes were for Eggs as a baby: the sweater, measuring 3.5” from cuff to cuff across the length of both arms and chest, and the baby socks measuring 5/8” long
- The stop-motion flames “burning” in the furnace of the Mecha-Drill are courtesy of a working iPad displaying a loop video inside the “mouth” of the device
- More than 20,000 props were handmade for the movie
- 55 different sculpts of prop cheeses were created for “THE BOXTROLLS”
- The movie’s smallest prop was a tiny sewing thread and needle