And I mean so unnecessary you could cut them from the movie and still have exactly the same film, and so unpleasant they managed to, in just a few lines and scenes, make a character’s smeared lipstick an integral part of their grotesque…ness… (grotesquerie?), tread the well-worn ground of ‘it’s a trap!’ and make it abundantly clear to the audience that the expected reaction to said cross-dressing was disgust and amusement. And it was Laika, so for the first scene I actually thought this might turn out awesome, and only gradually realised that it absolutely, definitely wasn’t going to be.
This is probably a good time to also mention that Laika didn’t think to include even one character, even in a crowd scene, who wasn’t pasty white.
And there are so many things I loved about this film – like the fact that either female boxtrolls don’t have immediately identifiable gender features (no bows and eyelashes! Yay!) or someone’s got two male parent figures. Or that a bunch of kids are going to grow up, encounter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and hear Richard Ayoade and Nick Frost’s dialogue in their heads. Or the (OK, kind of familiar) Laika themes of parents being flawed and not great at parenting and that being pretty much OK kind of, and mobs of people having basically no redeeming features and the IQ of the lowest member divided by the size of the mob. It’s also really, really, ugly-snorts-of-laughter funny.
I did like Boxtrolls. I really did. I just wish I could like it unequivocally, or recommend it without feeling just a little bit guilty.