2016 annie awards nominations

With December just around the corner, we’re about to plunge face-first into awards season. Before we even get to the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards, we’ll hear from every major critics group across the United States. But before that, we can peruse the 2016 Annie Awards nominees, which look the honor the best in animated films and television. While the Annie’s don’t always agree with the Oscars, the nominees here may provide a preview of what to expect from this category in the months ahead.

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Mondo Laika Prints - Kubo and the Two Strings

This was one of those lucky years when we were treated to the beauty of a stop-motion animated movie from those geniuses over at LAIKA. Kubo and the Two Strings didn’t arrive with much pomp and circumstance, but it was quite the satisfying theatrical experience for those of us who went out of our way to see it a couple months ago. For those of you who did catch it and fell in love with it, you might want to stay tuned to Mondo today to get your hands on some stunning new artwork.

Kubo and the Two Strings arrives on home video today, and Mondo is celebrating with a gorgeous new print by artist César Moreno. However, if you happen to be more of a fan of LAIKA’s first movie Coraline, then there are two new prints that might tickle your fancy even more. Check out the Mondo Laika prints after the jump. Read More »

Matt Ferguson Kubo and the Two Strings

One of the movies you may have missed towards the end of summer was Kubo and the Two Strings. The film came and went without much pomp and circumstance, but as yet another impressive, gorgeous stop-motion animated movie from those geniuses at LAIKA, it demands to be seen. Thankfully, the movie will arrive on home video just before Thanksgiving, making it the perfect holiday gift for that movie lover in your life.

But in the meantime, those of you who already saw Kubo and the Two Strings can try to get your hands on a gorgeous new print by artist Matt Ferguson. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

Kubo and the Two Strings Time Lapse Video

If you haven’t seen Kubo and the Two Strings yet, you’re missing our on another gorgeous, moving animated adventure from LAIKA, the studio who brought you Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. The stop-motion geniuses have delivered some of their most beautiful work yet, and you’ll be amazed at some of sequences they pulled off.

Now you can see how they pull it off with an incredible time lapse video showing the animators moving the characters, creatures and set pieces frame by frame. If there are some parts of this movie that you didn’t believe were stop-motion animated (and there are some digital enhancements here and there), this will reassure you of all the hard work that goes into these films.

Watch the Kubo and the Two Strings time lapse video after the jump. Read More »

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 »

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 »

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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 »