Laika’s KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Teaser Trailer Showcases Their Best Work Yet in 90 Seconds

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 ThronesArt 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.

Extended Commentary:

  • 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:

Kubo and the Two Strings Teaser Poster

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

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Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Mad Max Fury Road 2015 Movie Review

Thirty years after George Miller’s last romp in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of future Australia, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ delivers on all cylinders. Read my review of one of the most insane action films of recent years. Continue reading

WonderCon 2015: Warner Bros. Shares Exciting New ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Clips [UPDATED w/ VIDEOS]

WonderCon 2015 Warner Bros. 'Mad Max Fury Road' Clips

There are many action movies that get released every year, but few and far between come around that change the game and blow our socks off. And just from seeing two short clips during the Warner Bros. WonderCon panel in Anaheim this weekend, Mad Max: Fury Road is definitely that action movie that will raise the bar. After the jump, learn what we saw during the panel and why we believe this could be the greatest action movie of the year. Continue reading

Final ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Trailer Leaves Nothing to Chance [191 Screenshots]

If you’re like me, you’ve been blown away by each and every trailer Warner Bros. has delivered for Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s been 30 years since Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and with this final marketing push, the distributor is leaving nothing to chance with less than two months to go. The previous trailers have done a glorious job emphasizing the action and insane visuals to come, and this one takes it even further, perhaps giving away too much.

I normally put the trailer first after the jump, but I just want to issue another warning before you attempt to watch this trailer as it presents a lot of actions scenes that I would consider spoiler territory. It doesn’t verbally give away plot details, but it does confirm what the trailers have teased thus far. And also, we’re all pretty smart people, and if you don’t want to know how certain action set pieces end, then I would definitely not watch this trailer and come back later.

Anyways, if you decided to watch this trailer, it feels like there is almost too much shown, but with less energy? It could be, although as great as it is, the music, which doesn’t feel as exciting here as in the last trailer. If I had to put my finger on it, I think it’s because the context in which the action is presented is all over the place and doesn’t quite give off the same kinetic feeling as the other trailers.

But the biggest offense the trailer commits is the fact that it unloads everything out into the open. It’s like they don’t trust that they’ve already sold us on an incredible product and want to get through to the stragglers who aren’t quite convinced. If for some reason anyone isn’t convinced they should see Fury Road after the first trailer they should reassess their taste in film.

(Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge the photo gallery)

Here is the official plot synopsis for Mad Max: Fury Road, courtesy of Warner Bros.:

Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone.  Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa.  They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

Written and directed by George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Kennedy Miller Mitchell. This movie will arrive in theaters on May 15, 2015.


Source: Warner Bros.

First ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Teaser Brings a Lovely Day to a Hopeless World [126 Screenshots]

Mad Max Fury Road Screenshot Tom Hardy 2

We’ve already seen a gorgeous, intense first look come out of Comic-Con 2014, but Warner Bros. has now officially released what they’re calling the first teaser trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road. This new high-octane trailer goes big and bold with insane visuals, incredible action sequences, and the Dies Irae Requiem to enhance your viewing pleasure. Watch the trailer and check out our hi-res screenshots after the break. Continue reading

Comic-Con 2014: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Official Trailer (126 Screenshots)

Mad Max Fury Road Comic Con Trailer

“Mad” Max Rockatansky’s world of fire and blood returns to the big screen next summer. After debuting almost 10 minutes of footage from Mad Max: Fury Road during the Warner Bros. Hall H presentation at Comic-Con, the first trailer has arrived. The latest entry in the Mad Max franchise is manic, crazy, and better looking than anything we could have hoped for. Watch the trailer after the break. Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Delivers Bland MacFarlane Comedy

Movie Review A Million Ways to Die in the West

In a post Ted and 2013 Oscars world, there is not much left for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to mock and satire. Mining for laughs in his latest movie A Million Ways to Die in the West, which he wrote, directed, and starred in, the funny man unfortunately fails to deliver on that charm we all love. After seeing a teddy bear use produce as a strap-on dildo, A Million Ways to Die in the West is the Mr. Rogers of Seth MacFarlane comedy.  Continue reading

10 Best Dressed of the 86th Annual Academy Awards

10 Best Dressed of the 86th Annual Academy Awards

Last night’s 86th Annual Academy Awards, held inside the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, brought together the biggest names in cinema for the glitziest night of the year. While the excitement inside was placed on who would win Ocsar gold, all eyes were focused on the stars dressed to the nines on the red carpet prior to the big show. We saw many trends and beautiful ensembles this year, but there were a few that truly stood out. After the jump, check out the 10 Best Dressed Men and Women of the Oscars last night. Continue reading

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Trailer Brings Back Seth MacFarlane (103 Screenshots)

'A Million Ways to Die in the West' Trailer Seth MacFarlane

The first trailer for the much anticipated follow-up to Seth MacFarlane’s Ted has arrived. A Million Ways to Die in the West takes MacFarlane’s sensibility to the old west to drink whiskey, take drugs with Native Americans, and get in a gun fight with Liam Neeson. Watch the full trailer after the break.  Continue reading

Say Hello to David in ‘Prometheus’ Viral Marketing

Michael Fassbender David Prometheus

There is something eerie about Michael Fassbender and having him play the role of an android. In Prometheus, his portrayal of David feels like the perfect fit for him. An incredible viral marketing video has been uploaded to help us understand where David comes from and how he will relate to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel. Continue reading