How a small company has risen into the land of the animation giants.
From the company that brought you the stop motion masterpieces Coraline, ParaNorman and the Boxtrolls, comes their next motion picture, Kubo and the Two Strings created by Laika and directed by Laika president Travis Knight.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS – Official Trailer [HD] – In Theaters August 2016
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure from acclaimed animation studio Laika. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of Game of Thrones) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.
With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara) to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.” (Focus Features, 2016)
Laika Tenth Anniversary video. Source
The wonderful people at Lakia have created some of what I believe to be the best animated stories of the past decade with their unique take on stories and filmmaking to give us extremely heartfelt, emotional and bold messages that play to both adults and children alike. What makes these films so special is that they are one of the very few companies that still use stop motion animation in the current era of CGI entertainment. They blend computer generated animation and stop motion so well that the worlds they create feel vibrant and full of life as each set piece and model is hand crafted with immense care, even winning awards based on their innovation and skill. The trailer shows glimpses of how Lakia takes stop motion to the next level through going as far as animating objects and pieces in the world that you could not imagine being so believable, like water, fire and even individual weeds that all bring the world to life.
The nature of creation in The Boxtrolls. Source
While I love these movies to death and will back the use of stop motion animation in every way, some of the criticisms that come with Laika’s movies that I can agree with are that the stories can lack depth and they take on these huge stories with really deep meanings, but at the end they don’t nail the aspects that they are trying to reach. These small issues became apparent to me in The Boxtrolls, where the movie tackles themes of equality and class but at the same time having the main heroine to be fixated on violence, along with some of the smaller characters bringing up the notions of a greater being and having existential crisis. This idea was more told in tongue and cheek than as a plot device.
Kubo and the Two Strings is set to release in August with a staggering release schedule around the world up until the end of the year.