While computer animation rules the market for animated films these days, Laika stands as one of the proud purveyor of stop motion animation. Their latest film, Kubo And The Two Strings, promises to be another jewel in the crown of the studio that brought us such films as Paranorman and The Boxtrolls. You can see why in the breathtaking trailer below.
Kubo And The Two Strings tells the story of the titular protagonist: a young boy with a two stringed instrument that has a mythical punch to its tunes. Which is a good thing, considering Kubo is about to face off against some rather vengeful spirits who are looking for trouble in ancient Japan. To fight these spirits, he'll have the help of a talking monkey and a bulky beetle – both with very familiar voices in the Focus Features released trailer. With a cast that boasts Rooney Mara, George Takei, and even Ralph Fiennes, the film is quite impressive with it's voice cast. However, considering Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey are respectively playing Monkey and Beetle, that bumps up the film's cast into an even more magnificent line-up.
Using the classic Beatles tune "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as its musical backdrop, the trailer to Kubo And The Two Strings shows off a fair amount of magic; both through Kubo and his origami magic, and the impressive stop-motion animation that Laika has on display. In fact, if we didn't know any better, we could say that this was a CGI animated film, considering how fluid the animation looks in the sequence where a massive wave is split by the power of music. The smoothness of the animation also helps lend the appropriate level of menace to Rooney Mara's nefarious looking Sisters, as they glide over the water to lure, or taunt, Kubo into action.
It seems like with every new film Laika and its animators manage to defy expectations and top their previous film. Kubo And The Two Strings certainly looks like it continues the tradition of excellence in animated wonder. With first-time director / veteran Laika animator Travis Knight at the helm, it looks as if the film will have the extra blessing of a new director trying to make a truly unique and affecting film. If this film is as impressive as it looks, Knight will have another stellar entry on his already impressive resume as an animator, but a hell of a first entry as a director.
Kubo And The Two Strings plays a song of action and beauty on August 19th.