Looking for a Movie to Watch Over the Long Weekend?
Home Video Picks & Passes 08.29.21
The Boxtrolls (2014) — PASS
Coraline (2009) — PICK
Labyrinth (1986) — PASS
he best and worst of Laika Studios’ adorably creepy stop-motion animated features both have new Blu-ray releases — but which is which? It’s no mystery: Henry Selick’s surreal Coraline, written by Neil Gaiman, is an inspired excursion into the fantasies and anxieties of a strong-willed young girl who discovers a whimsically spooky parallel world through a secret door in her new home. A terrific heroine, a great supporting cast, a deliciously ghoulish monster and a very good kitty: What’s not to love?
By contrast, the defiantly weird, bleak The Boxtrolls has all the usual Laika grotesquerie, but virtually none of the humanity. Combining the worst animated parental stereotypes with an exhausted PC parable with misunderstood monsters and monster humans, it’s an unbearable misfire.
Between the two is Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, celebrating 35 years with a 4K Ultra-HD/Blu-ray set. A Muppety fantasy, nostalgic for some, starring a very young Jennifer Connolly opposite David Bowie, it’s a curiosity I can’t quite cheer or pan. Your call.
CAVEAT SPECTATOR: The Boxtrolls: Animated menace and slapstick action; disturbing situations, including kidnapping and long-term captivity; mild bawdy humor. Coraline: Disturbing domestic themes in a fantasy setting; creepy imagery, scary scenes and menace to a child; a couple of depictions of divination; mild burlesque-style humor. Labyrinth: Mildly intimidating imagery; some rude humor. All for older kids and up.