Kubo and the Two Strings Featurette

This past weekend brought Kubo and the Two Strings to theaters, another gorgeous stop-motion animated adventure from the geniuses at LAIKA. As time goes on, stop-motion animation just gets more and more impressive thanks to the advancement of the technology used to make it. There’s some digital assistance here and there, but largely, it’s just some fine work done by brilliant animators who know exactly what they’re doing. However, one particular sequence needed a lot of digital assistance to come to life

One of the more breathtaking sequences in Kubo and the Two Strings comes from the opening scene when Kubo’s mother is navigating a roaring ocean in the middle of a storm. Thanks to a new featurette, we get the details on how digital animation and stop-motion puppetry combined to create this beautiful sequence. Read More »

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Kubo and the Two Strings Travis Knight interview

With Kubo and the Two Strings, the CEO & President of Laika, Travis Knight, makes his feature directorial debut. Knight’s 3D stop-motion / CG hybrid follows a brave young hero named Kubo (Art Parkinson), as he goes on an epic quest to retrieve what’s needed to defeat Raiden the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes). Along for the samurai’s emotional adventure are Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey).

The Japan-set film’s style was inspired by ink wash paintings, Noh theater, and period doll making. One of the biggest influences for Knight, besides the famous woodblock painter Kiyoshi Saito, was ukiyo-e (translation: pictures of the floating world). The director was most drawn to the work of Hokusai and Hiroshige, and the former’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa” clearly inspired the film’s opening sequence, which we talked about with Knight.

During our time with the filmmaker, we discussed the work Laika put into crafting some of Kubo and the Two Strings most visually stunning sequences, in addition to why they’ll never make sequels. Below, read our Travis Knight interview.

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Why You Shouldn’t Expect Any Sequels From Laika

Kubo pic

Laika is about to unveil their fourth feature film to the world. Their latest adventure, Kubo and the Two Strings, is, like Coraline and ParaNorman, a self-contained story. Travis Knight‘s film doesn’t leave the door open for a sequel. In the hands of another studio, maybe it would, but Knight, who’s also the CEO & President of Laika, has no interest in attempting to launch a franchise with Kubo and the Two Strings — or any of Laika’s other movies.

Below, find out why you shouldn’t expect to see any Laika sequels.

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making of kubo and the two strings

The magic of stop-motion animation is that it still conjures a “How the hell did they do that?” reaction. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of films from Pixar, Disney Animation, and DreamWorks Animation, but the filmmaking process on CG-animated films doesn’t fill me with awe and wonder. At the end of the day, most modern animation is all about talented people sitting around computers and watching files render for hours on end. The end result can be impressive, but it doesn’t exactly light a fire under my imagination.

So bless Laika, the production company that has spent the past decade making stop-motion movies that dazzle the senses while telling offbeat and unique stories that push the boundaries of the medium. And as much as I have enjoyed their finished work, I often find myself enjoying behind-the-scenes looks at their process even more. This new featurette on the making of Kubo and the Two Strings kind of blows my mind.

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Kubo and the Two Strings Trailer

We know that the last Kubo and the Two Strings trailer was supposed to be the final one, but it looks like Focus Features and LAIKA wanted to show off a little more from their anticipated stop-motion animated fantasy epic. It’s a quick new trailer, but it has plenty of new footage featuring Kubo stepping into the big shoes left behind by his warrior father, as well as some little bits of humor as well.

Watch the new Kubo and the Two Strings trailer after the jump. Read More »

Kubo and the Two Strings Trailer

There’s a good chance that I will always be stunned by how incredibly gorgeous stop-motion animation looks from Laika. The studio is host to dozens of animators who are masters of their craft, and when you see the new footage from the final Kubo and the Two Strings trailer, you’ll certainly agree.

The fantasy adventure follows a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson) who gets caught up in the kind of fantasy adventures with which he usually entertains his village. With the help of a monkey (Charlize Theron) and a trusty, loyal warrior named Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), Kubo must face gods and monsters in order to learn the true history of his family and become a hero in the process. Read More »

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Kubo and the Two Strings Trailer

The sheer beauty and wonder of stop-motion animation from LAIKA will never cease to amaze me. A new trailer for their latest project, Kubo and the Two Strings, has just arrived, and as the animation studio’s first epic, the visual are truly stunning. The intricacy of the animation makes you wonder why LAIKA takes the time do make these movies in stop-motion animated, but if you’ve seen any of their movies, you know that it gives it a certain homemade quality that makes it that much more special.

Watch the new Kubo and the Two Strings trailer after the jump. Read More »

Kubo and the Two Strings trailer

After CoralineParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, in LAIKA we trust. The animation studio made three ambitious, distinct stop-motion animated movies, films that aren’t always afraid of scaring children. They trust kids to be brave as their protagonists, which is rare for anyone making family movies. As proven by the this wonderful full-length Kubo and the Two Strings trailer, the company hasn’t changed their ways and this looks to be their biggest film to date.

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Laika 10th Anniversary

Stop-motion animation is perhaps the most difficult in the entire animation field. Animators have to move their characters and sets by a single frame at a time to film 24 frames in a second. And if you’ve seen movies from Laika such as Coraline and ParaNorman, then you know that they don’t hold back when it comes to intricate and meticulously crafted production pieces.

Now a new video reel from Laika celebrates 10 years of stop-motion magnificence, running through clips and behind the scenes footage from their films Coraline, ParaNorman and most recently The Boxtrolls. Plus, there’s some new footage from their forthcoming adventure Kubo and the Two Strings. Watch! Read More »