The Boxtrolls appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As I expected, the transfer looked terrific.
Sharpness was fine across the board. Virtually no softness appeared, as the movie delivered satisfying definition.
No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, print flaws never manifested themselves.
Boxtrolls came with a palette that mildly emphasized teal, with a general pastel sense as well. The colors showed a good sense of vividness and worked well.
Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots offered nice clarity and smoothness. This became an appealing visual presentation.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack offered a lively soundscape, especially during the action-oriented sequences. Those fleshed out the spectrum in an involving way and gave us nice chances for movement.
This allowed the surrounds to play an active role. The track worked well enough in the early stages but it picked up more as it went, especially as the film neared its climax. The various channels got a good workout in this engrossing soundscape.
Audio quality seemed pleasing. Speech always sounded distinctive and concise, while music was peppy and rich.
Effects offered solid reproduction, with clean highs and deep lows. I liked this mix and thought it gave the movie life.
When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source’s adaptation and story/characters, cast and performances, design choices, music and audio, puppets and animation and connected domains.
Across the board, this becomes a useful commentary. The directors touch on a good array of topics and do so in an insightful, engaging manner.
Under Preliminary Animatic Sequences, we find six segments with a total running time of 17 minutes, 29 seconds. These show us animated storyboards for the six scenes, and they offer a fun way to see early versions of the various segments.
We can view these with or without commentary from Annable and Stacchi. They tell us about the sequences and aspects of the production/storytelling processes. They add useful insights.
Up next, the four-part Dare to Be Square fills 32 minutes, 48 seconds with notes from Annable, Stacchi, producer/lead animator Travis Knight, producer David Bleiman Ichioka, replacement animation and engineering Brian McLean, character fabrication supervisor Georgina Hayns, animation supervisor Brad Schiff, animation rigging Oliver Jones, story artist David Vandervoort, CG facial animator Jeff Croke, lead replacement animation specialist Tim Yates, editor Edie Ichioka, composer Dario Marianelli, costume designer Deborah Cooke, animation rigging Gerald Svoboda, model builder Raul Martinez, art director Curt Enderle, and actors Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost, Tracy Morgan, Jared Harris, Toni Collette, Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker, and Simon Pegg.
“Dare” examines cast, characters and performances, design, music, puppets and animation. We get a good view of these various topics in this informative and engaging collection of clips.
More programs appear under Featurettes. This breaks into five sections that go for a total of 13 minutes and provide comments from Knight, Annable, Jones, Stacchi, Enderle, Baker, Blum, Vandervoort, McLean, Hayns, VFX supervisor Steve Emerson and facial animation supervisor Peg Serena.
The featurettes cover design and animation, the Boxtrolls’ language, and various challenges. Though these clips exist for promotional purposes, they manage a few fun glimpses of the production.
The disc opens with ads for Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Previews adds promos for The Nut Job, Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Coraline, ParaNorman and The Little Rascals Save the Day. No trailer for Boxtrolls appears here.
Though it occasionally displays charm, much of The Boxtrolls fails to endear itself to the audience. The characters don’t connect and the whole package seems just a little too grotesque to achieve its goals. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals, very good audio and a fairly nice roster of bonus materials. The movie doesn’t flop but it disappoints.