Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.
I love it when a film is creatively marketed. And I think The Boxtrolls definitely fits the bill. I know animation is not everyone’s thing, and stop-motion is even less so, but you should definitely watch both of the trailers (below) for this upcoming movie because I can’t recall ever having seen another film marketed in this way. The first trailer is a clever behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, while the second makes a pretty powerful statement in a casual and awesome way. Take a look:
I love the use of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” for this trailer, which showcases the incredibly painstaking and laborious work that goes into making a stop-motion film. This trailer shows everything from the early production sketches to the manufacture of the mechanical frames for the characters to the printing of a myriad of faces to show each expression to the stitching of tiny clothes for the characters to the countless props and set dressings required for this type of animation. I’ve always loved stop-motion, whether it’s Wallace and Gromit or the works of Tim Burton or the previous works of Laika, the company that has made The Boxtrolls. It’s a clever trailer, which (at least in me) creates far more interest in the film than a plot summary or showing off the voice cast ever could have done.
But the second trailer is the best. Check this out:
Laika made some headlines with their previous film, ParaNorman, which in addition to be a lot of fun, very funny, sweet and scary also featured what was praised as the first gay character in a kids’ animated film. At the end of that movie, the stereotypical jock character, Mitch, revealed in an offhand way that he was gay. After being asked to the movies by a girl, he says, “You’re gonna love my boyfriend, he’s a total chick-flick nut!” It drew the ire of all of the groups that you might imagine would object to that sort of thing, but it also drew praise for featuring a character in a way that both challenges viewers’ (and characters’) preconceptions while also making it painfully obvious that Mitch’s sexuality is no big deal.
Laika is apparently doubling down on their stance with this trailer, and I say hats off to them for it. It’s one thing to have one line at the end of your film dealing with homosexuality, and quite another to boldly proclaim that “families come in all shapes and sizes” while showing not only the stereotypical mother-father situation, but highlighting single parents and both gay and lesbian parents. Obviously this will just infuriate those same groups who objected to ParaNorman, but taking a stance in a trailer is both riskier and bolder. The trailer will probably be seen by even more people than the film, and shows that the studio is not backing down from controversy.
For The Boxtrolls the studio could have focused on the fact that the film is based on the novel Here Be Monsters!, or that it features the voice talent of Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan, but instead they chose the two trailers shown here. I think they made the right choice, not just because I agree with their philosophical views, but because these trailers are bound to make more of an impression on viewers than the standard fare. I had read about The Boxtrolls and almost immediately forgotten about it, but after seeing the trailers I can’t wait for the film.
What do you think? Do you like the two trailers? What do you think of the way they showed the behind-the-scenes footage as a way to explain the work that goes into these types of movies? What do you think about their decision to take a firm stance on homosexuality (and specifically gay parents) in the second trailer? Did you like ParaNorman and Coraline? Are you looking forward to The Boxtrolls? Let me know in the comments!