LAIKA Animation’s studio is one of the most magical places on Earth, a place I was lucky enough to visit just before their release of The Boxtrolls. It’s a place where madness and magic come together to create new worlds from whole cloth, worlds on a scale small enough to make the animators feel god-like in their powers of manipulation, but also enslaved to their miniature creations. To celebrate their 10 years of magic, LAIKA Animation just released a new retrospective video, which just so happens to feature an actual boat-load of new footage from their upcoming film, Kubo and the Two Strings.
While the recently released trailer for that picture teased the characters, story, and technological advancements the studio has achieved, this new video puts all of LAIKA’s films next to each other in chronological order so that you can actually see the evolution of their filmmaking skill. It also serves up some exciting scenes from the new film, both during the pre-production process and the fully rendered version. It’s a must-watch for any fans of LAIKA, stop-motion, animation, or beautiful films in general.
Watch the new video from LAIKA below:
LAIKA, the award-winning animation studio nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, celebrates 10 years of bold and memorable filmmaking this month. For a company whose name means “little barker” in Russian, Portland, Oregon-based LAIKA has made quite a noise in the global film industry over a relatively short time. With its world-class filmmaking team, LAIKA pushes the boundaries of family entertainment and animated movies, redefining what stories can and should be told through the art form. Take a look at some of the artistry in this 10th Anniversary video.
Variety also has a cool look into the numbers behind the making of Kubo and the Two Strings:
- 66 – Max. number of stages at any given time, which is the most ever for the studio.
- $1.16 million – Est. number of man-hours spent on the film.
- 21,228 – Number of faces created for the title character alone.
- 16’4″ x 23’3″ – Height and wingspan of the film’s biggest puppet.
- 3 – Average number of seconds of footage completed by an animator in a given week. Due to Kubo’s increased complexity of scenes, this number is 30% less than previous pictures.
They also have a comment from director/animator/President/CEO Travis Knight himself on the story about “a poor young street singer and storyteller who must go on an epic quest, pursued by gods and monsters, to find a magical suit of armor once worn by his dead samurai father”:
“On the surface it’s a big epic adventure, but at its core it’s a meditation on loss and healing.”
Here’s the official synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings:
An epic action-adventure from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling fantastical stories to the people of his seaside town. But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a mythical spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and his heroic destiny. The all-star cast also includes George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Brenda Vaccaro.