Support Hand-Made Films - Go See Laika's 'Kubo and the Two Strings'
by Alex Billington
August 19, 2016
"Be bold. Be brave. Be epic." That's one of the taglines for this movie, but it could also easily be the motto of Laika, the animation studio that created this excellent animated adventure. Kubo and the Two Strings is now playing in theaters and it's a must see. Please, go see this movie in theaters while you can, and enjoy the heck out of it. Please go see it because stop-motion animation needs all the love and support it can get nowadays, especially in the form of tickets purchased to see this beautiful work of art in theaters. It's all hand-made, animated and painted and created by hand (in Portland, Oregon), and it's wonderful. I really can't recommend it enough and I'm very happy to go out of my way to write an entire post about seeing this.
Kubo and the Two Strings is only Laika's fourth film, following The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline. It's directed by Travis Knight, who is now the CEO of the company after starting out as an animator. The story tells of a brave young samurai named Kubo, who ends up on an adventure to save his town. Not only is the movie totally awesome and beautiful and exciting to watch, but to see the amount of work they put into creating it is awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping. Part of the way through the credits there is a tiny glimpse of the behind-the-scenes work, and I'm glad they've been including this in their most recent films. For a more extensive look at their attention-to-detail and stop-motion process, check out the short doc from The Verge:
"The ethos of this whole place [Laika] is that we are artists first and foremost," states CEO Travis Knight (director of Kubo and the Two Strings) in The Verge interview. "When we started Laika 10 years ago, we could see the writing on the wall. Stop-motion animation was basically taking its last, dying breath. We had to come up with a way, if we wanted to continue to make a living in this medium that we loved, to bring it into a new era, to invigorate it." They've done just that - by focusing on storytelling, crafting characters with emotions, and putting so much effort into creating something so wonderful. It's truly amazing to realize that pretty much everything in their movies was created for real, by hand, and animated moment-by-moment.
If you need any more convincing, just read the reviews. David Ehrlich calls Kubo a "masterpiece" and writes in his review on Indiewire that it "reveals stop-motion to be the perfect vehicle for a story about the beauty of being finite." Tomris Laffly loved Kubo and writes in her review in Time Out NY that it's "swoonworthy in its vibrant visuals" and a "mature and gorgeous stop-motion–animated film." I also totally loved the movie and I think it may just be Laika's best work yet. They keep getting better. And they still need the support. So go out and see Kubo, enjoy it, tell everyone else about it, and help keep stop-motion animation alive. For more information, visit the official website. And let us know your thoughts once you see it. The quest begins.