Even with ever expanding new technology and uncanny valley exploring computer generated imagery, two of the most interesting animated films to emerge over the few years went a different route and decided to used the more antiquated spot-motion technique. The results were tremendous with both Wes Anderson's meticulously crafted Fantastic Mr. Fox and Henry Selick's second stop-motion feature Coraline offering a different aesthetic than the other animated fare. The old-school techniques (with some admittedly new tricks) helped create very textured and rich worlds and now the talent behind the two films is about to collide for Goblins.
Variety reports that Laika will make Philip Reeve's Goblins their next stop-motion effort and the acclaimed Portland-based animation studio has also already hired Marc Gustafson (animation director on Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox) to direct the feature film adaption of the upcoming children's novel. Laika, the team behind Coraline and this summer's Paranorman (check out the great theatrical trailer), recently acquired the rights to Reeve's book about a young goblin named Skarper who doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of his 'ill-mannered brethren' who live in an ancient castle.
And not just that, the clever black sheep is the only goblin who is aware of a rising evil force, comprised of a wide variety of mythical monsters, and the impending magical conflict of epic proportions. Laika President and CEO Travis Knight had this to say of the project: "Goblins is a fantasy with bite... In the hands of Laika's freakishly talented artists and guided by the ineffably gifted Mark Gustafson, it will make a strange, stirring, and altogether beautiful film." Sounds pretty rad and with the talented artists involved, I'll be sure to keep my eye on this project as it develops.
Here's the official synopsis of Goblins from Reeve's website, which you should visit if, for nothing else, to see the picture of the author. He's like Bill Nye crossed with Dr. Who.
The goblins of Clovenstone Keep are a bloodthirsty lot. They love fighting, looting and eating. And more fighting. But Skarper is different. He is clever and cunning. Only he understands that the old MAGIC trapped beneath Clovenstone is rising again. He's about to be flung headfirst into the wildest adventure in all of goblin history...
Oh, and the Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox connection runs deeper, as Laika and Fox director Wes Anderson teamed for a truly wonderful commercial. Perhaps the recent pairing led to the future collaboration between the studio and Anderson's former animation director? Hm. Either way, as a taste for things to come, here' Laika and Anderson's "Made of Imagination" spot for the Sony Xperia.