Now on Netflix Streaming: The Boxcar Children
The animation is simple, the story is bare bones, and the CG is anything but photo-realistic. Yet I’ll be damned if I didn’t get totally sucked into The Boxcar Children.
The Boxcar Children made me think back to when i was a little kid. I grew up in a pretty shitty home, and I used to be OBSESSED with the idea of runaways and running away. This film’s portrayal of a family of 1920s orphans who create their own small world in an abandoned train car in the woods would’ve been like cartoon crack to me! I can only imagine how enchanted I would have been watching the Alden kids figuring out how to live on the outskirts of society. It would’ve easily made it onto my ‘favorite films’ list at the time.
There’s something quite special about the way that directors Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippé and Kyungho Jo bring Gertrude Chandler Warner’s classic children’s books to life. The film’s lo-fi aesthetic matches that of the orphans’ make-shift boxcar home. And like the boxcar, the film’s antiquated appearance actually serves to enhance its hominess and warmth. Animation students and low budget cartoonists would do well to study the film’s engaging characterization and pitch-perfect pacing. These, accompanied by the filmmakers’ deft use of their limited animation budget, will surely serve as inspiration and encouragement for anyone struggling to create their own cartoons.
What The Boxcar Children lacked in funding, it more than makes up for in heart. It truly is a charming film!