I actually saw Dracula Untold more recently, but it sucked a lot more than blood and it’s really worth talking about. So I want to go back the movie I saw before the, Boxtrolls.
I really wanted to love this movie. It was made with such obvious love and care. There was some great ideas, but those diamonds were pretty rough and trussed way in the boxes. The worst thing about Boxtrolls was that I could see the gems, but just not reach them. I feel like there was the chance for a really amazing story here, but no one pulled it off.
[Here be spoilers!]
Let’s talk about the transmisogyny (prejudice against trans women). I’m pretty sure it was an innocent attempt at humor, but the central villain, Archibald Snatcher, spends a fair amount of the movie in a dress and playing the part of Madame Frou Frou, who is a popular performer and well-liked among the White Hats that Snatcher wants so badly to be inducted into.
First off… why? Snatcher doesn’t seem to get any information in his Madame Frou Frou persona. It doesn’t help him further any of his plans at all. In fact, it seems to take time away from his Boxtroll-catching exploits. Frou Frou seems to serve only to show Snatcher lying and deceiving the people of the town. Again, I’m pretty sure it was innocent, but under this thin attempt at humor, Boxtrolls risks perpetuating the idea that trans women are nothing more than men attempting to deceive the cisgendered majority.
And Boxtrolls really didn’t need to be like this! You know, the only time Snatcher seemed truly happy was during the movie was as Madame Frou Frou. One of the (conflicting) messages of Boxtrolls is to accept yourself, that white hats and cheese don’t change the fundamental truth of ourselves. There’s even a scene where Eggs tearfully tells Snatcher not to eat the cheese that he’s allergic to and which will never make him a part of the aristocracy he aspires to.
How great a moment would that have been to have Snatcher realize that Eggs was right, that his true self, the one that was respected and which he loved was Madame Frou Frou? Put down the cheese, Snatcher, and put your awesome dress back on! End the movie with another performance to the applause of the entire town.
(Which would have served the ending better to explain what the hell happened to the White Hats. They were ass-hats, to be sure, but… how exactly did the boss fight at the end or the cheese explosion dissolve the ignorant and self-absorbed council…?)
But no… Snatcher eats the cheese and explodes. Because reasons.