LAIKA deserves a breakout hit. Their biggest hit to date has been 2009’s Coraline, and while ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls both crossed $100 million worldwide, these movies are too good for such relatively low returns. LAIKA movies should be smash hits, and hopefully the studio has one on its hand with its latest movie, Kubo and the Two Strings.
I’ll have my review for the film up next week, but I’ll say right now that it largely eschews the humor of ParaNorman and Boxtrolls for a story that’s more mythic and somber. It totally works, and while the animation is as gorgeous as we’ve come to expect from the stop-motion animation studio, the story is also top-notch. The movie also ends with Regina Spektor doing a terrific cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. You can listen to it now in the music video below, which also contains new footage from the movie.
While summer movie fatigue may have set in, I highly encourage you to see Kubo. I’ll go in depth more in my review, but for now I’ll just say that it’s yet another example of why LAIKA is one of the best animation studios around, and it’s yet another major success for them. Don’t sleep on this one.
Kubo and the Two Strings opens August 19th and features the voices of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara, and Matthew McConaughey.
Here’s the official synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings:
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a 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 fulfill his heroic destiny.