Known for such films as Coraline, ParaNorman, and last year’s The Boxtrolls, the stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA, returns in 2016 to bring audiences Kubo and the Two Strings. The first, stunning teaser is wildly different from anything we’ve seen from the Oscar nominated animators before. Taking a more Eastern approach to their art direction, influenced by Japanese culture, this could be LAIKA’s boldest film to date.
Upon watching the first seconds of this teaser I was blown away. According to the official production announcement from 2014, Kubo and the Two Strings “is being brought to life at LAIKA via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique.” The opening sequence in the ocean is breathtakingly impressive and the environments are stunning. The way the movie positions itself with its art style, action, and visual queues, it almost feels like a video game.
Kubo and the Two Strings hosts a bevy of big name actors to voice its characters. Game of Thrones‘ Art Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark, voices the titular Kubo. At his side are George Takei as Hosato, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, Brenda Vaccaro as Kamekichi, Rooney Mara as the evil twin Sisters, Charlize Theron as Monkey, Matthew McConaughey as Beetle, and Ralph Fiennes as the Moon King.
I like Coraline, but ParaNorman didn’t impress me beyond its ending and The Boxtrolls didn’t work for me at all. The mix of Japanese culture and stop-motion animation is something I can’t say I’ve seen before, and it truly interests me. I can safely say Kubo and the Two Strings is high up on my list of most anticipated films of 2016.
- From the origami birds to the underwater eyeball creatures, I’m amazed by everything.
- The music perfectly sets up the tone of this film.
- Making photo realistic water in film and video games is wonderful, but the ocean animation here looks beautiful.
- Some of the animation reminds me of James and the Giant Peach.
- Before reading the plot synopsis, I had thought Kubo was a girl. I think it would be more interesting story if Kubo was a girl and not a boy.
- It would also be awesome if LAIKA intended this film to be voiced over in Japanese first then dubbed in English.
Click on the teaser poster below to enlarge:
Here’s the official plot synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings, courtesy of Focus Features:
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato, Hashi and Kamekichi. 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 and Beetle, 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 and the evil twin Sisters to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.
Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings is set for release on August 19, 2016.
Source: Focus Features