Laika Has Us By The Strings

Laika is officially the new studio that can do no wrong. In my mind, they are the company making the most interesting and the most successful films right now. Not just animated films, but films. Animation is a medium, not a genre. And I'd place Boxtrolls above most live action films that were released this year. They've released three meticulously detailed films to date, and all three have been winners. And like all champs, they know not to rest on their laurels, but to move forward harder and faster than ever.

Meet Kubo and the Two Strings. The directorial debut of  Laika President, CEO and animator Travis Knight, the stop-frame animated film (as all their films have been to date) is a "gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters" from a script by ParaNorman scribes Marc Haimes and Chris Butler.
"In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted 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 to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars."
What I've respected most about Laika is that, while their films are far from star studded, they avoided the Disney trap of hiring name brand actors, and instead given voice acting jobs to actors who are recognizable second and ideally talented first. This has resulted in French and Saunders appearing in Coraline, John Goodman showing up in ParaNorman, and an utterly unrecognizable Ben Kingsley heading up Boxtrolls.

This suitability first, marketability second system reminds me of Pixar when they first started, and hired folks like Dave Foley or Albert Brooks to headline their films. Laika might be taking a step away from that with Kubo, as the announced cast is as currently popularist as you can get. Leading the film will be Game of Thrones' Rickon Stark Art Parkinson as the titular Kubo. Backing him up will be Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro. However, I still have the utmost confidence in Laika, and expect great things when the film is released in their comfort zone of August in 2016.

Via Collider.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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