Monday, December 22, 2014

LAIKA Four


The Portland studio has announced their next film, and it expectedly sounds awesome...

The name of the feature is Kubo and the Two Strings...

Here is a piece of lovely concept art...


Variety reports that the story is set in ancient Japan in a quiet seaside village.

"In the story, Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him. His survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father."

Jerry Beck over at his IndieWire blog Animation Scoop adds that Kubo's father was the world's greatest samurai, and that the protagonist will be on the run from "gods and monsters"... Nice. The story will also involve the character's family history, an interesting element to say the least.

Right off the bat, the idea sounds great and there's already lots of potential here. Some people out there associated LAIKA with horror films thanks to their first two films, Coraline and ParaNorman, but this year's The Boxtrolls showed that LAIKA isn't just about horror and spooky stuff. This film looks to go a new direction, which is great because the studio at least isn't repeating itself.

The film will be directed by LAIKA's CEO & animator Travis Knight, and it'll be produced by him as well alongside ParaNorman producer Arianne Sutner. The screenplay is being handled by Chris Butler (ParaNorman) and Marc Haimes (writer of an upcoming horror film called The Last Word), and the cast consists of Art Parkinson (who is voicing the titular character), Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro. That's a pretty strong cast so far...

Mr. Knight had this to say...

"Kubo and the Two Strings is a rare gem. It’s a gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters. At once epic and intimate, Kubo is a funny, intense, and ultimately uplifting fairy tale draped in some of the most bizarre and exciting imagery I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, it’s deeply moving. It’s a story that means something, a story that deserves to be told. In short, it’s a LAIKA movie. And with a poetic script, sublime cast, and our freakishly talented artists and craftspeople, Kubo will be a strange, stirring, and altogether stunning film. I can’t wait to share it with the world."

It all sounds amazing. What more can I say? LAIKA, original story, based on Japanese mythology and folklore, stop-motion, fantasy, gods, monsters, a battle to save Earth and the stars... All three of LAIKA's films have impressed me; I absolutely loved Coraline and ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls was decent story-wise but it at least was quirky and a bit oddball instead of being another generic animated family romp. Bring it on, I say!

The film is set to open on August 19, 2016. I reckoned that LAIKA would seek out a date like that in 2016, considering that they used the rather out-of-the-way August spot for ParaNorman two years ago. This year, since Sony Animation nothing to release (they usually lock the late September weekend), LAIKA and Focus Features took full advantage of that.

Now, what's going on with Goblins and WildWood? I'm guessing those will be next, but first things first.

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