optimus prime bumblebee

Transformers: The Last Knight, the latest in Michael Bay‘s monstrous Transformers franchise, may be one of the worst-reviewed films of 2017, but you can’t keep those Autobots down. Bumblebee, the first in a probably endless series of Transformers spin-offs, is currently in production. And it looks like a familiar character is following Bumblebee into the spin-off: Optimus Prime will be bringing his big, bulky body along for the ride. See the details involving the Optimus Prime Bumblebee spin-off news below.

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Hailee Steinfeld in Bumblebee

Production is now underway on the next installment of the Transformers, but it’s going to be much different from the movies we’ve been seeing from director Michael Bay for the past decade. After launching in 2007, the Transformers film franchise has grown to be a convoluted mess of too many stories interspersed with huge, explosive action sequences. Thankfully, it sounds like the spin-off prequel Bumblebee will be heading in a different direction.

Not only will Bumblebee take place in 1987, but the film is said to be in the same vein as The Iron Giant, with significantly fewer Transformers. Taking the role of the teenager who encounters our heroic Autobot is Hailee Steinfeld, and the Pitch Perfect 2 actress has just posted a first look at her character that is pure 1980s rock. Get your first look at Hailee Steinfeld in Bumblebee below Read More »

Transformers Bumblebee movie setting 1980s

An old rumor is confirmed: the first Transformers spinoff, Bumblebee, will take place when the original animated series was airing, the 1980s. Director Travis Knight‘s (Kubo and the Two Strings) prequel won’t be as busy or as large as Michael Bay‘s Transformers movies, either. A few new details have come out about the film, which will star Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen).

Below, learn more about the Bumblebee movie setting.

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Bumblebee Transformers

We’ve already explored how director Michael Bay can’t seem to quit the Transformers franchise, and we know Paramount certainly doesn’t have any plans to give up on one of its most consistent moneymakers. Bay himself says there are 14 more movies in development, and the filmmaker recently confirmed that the upcoming Bumblebee spinoff will be a prequel. But where and when will it take place? Join us as we explore the possibilities of a Bumblebee prequel.
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Transformers Bumblebee

The Transformers movies released so far have been a linear series of sequels, but a little while back we heard they’d be branching out into spinoffs — and now one of those spinoffs is taking a massive, alien-robot-sized step forward. The Bumblebee movie has reportedly found a director in Travis Knight, who last helmed Laika’s Kubo and the Two StringsRead 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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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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Boxtrolls best scene

The films from Laika are, in a way, like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood — part of the story of the films themselves is the story of how they are made. The process is very different, of course, as Linklater worked for more than a decade on one film, while Laika uses painstaking stop-motion animation to create the illusion of life over a production period that lasts a couple years per film.

We’ve all seen in-process video of Laika artists at work, but the final shot of the studio’s most recent film, The Boxtrolls, illustrates the process in a beautifully meta fashion. It may be The Boxtrolls best scene — and there are no spoilers involved, even for those who haven’t seen the film. Check it out below.

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